Well, it was only a matter of time before Netflix‘s Tiger King made headlines once again. The docuseries has been at the center of various controversies since its release in March. Now, Netflix is facing a new lawsuit over the viral show’s name.
Hollywood Weekly Magazine claims it trademarked the “Tiger King” phrase over seven years ago. Now, the magazine is suing the streaming platform for using the phrase.
In the new lawsuit, Hollywood Weekly Magazine claims that it coined the phrase “Tiger King” in reference to Joe Exotic back in 2013. The publication is suing Netflix, CBS Studios, Paramount and Imagine Television for various claims including trademark and copyright infringement, unfair business practices and unjust enrichment.
The publication alleges that Exotic’s nickname was used exclusively by Hollywood Weekly Magazine in reference to the zookeeper. Despite these claims, an official trademark application for “Tiger King” wasn’t filed until July 2.
Along with the trademark and copyright infringement, the publication says that its unwanted association with the series is hurting its reputation. Due to this, Hollywood Weekly Magazine is seeking damages, disgorgement of profits and destruction of the series and related advertising.
“Recently after the series was distributed for streaming, Plaintiffs for the first time were receiving comments from advertisers as to when HWM became a tabloid gossip magazine when the fundamental pillar of HWM is and always has been ‘No Gossip, Strictly Entertainment’ and always highly respected and well-known for this brand,” attorney Michael F. Frank says in the complaint.
Frank further adds to the formal complaint that the trademark was used throughout the Netflix series without permission.
“The series literally uses the [Tiger King phrase] in its title, throughout the video, and then even shows issues of the HWM publication itself within the video series as well showing that they knew about it, accessed it, had access to it, and were even using it in the series itself, thus establishing the [phrase] was neither separately created nor developed by Defendants,” he says.
There have been some large developments since the release of Tiger King in March. Most recently, Exotic’s enemy Carole Baskin recently gained control of his former zoo. Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence.
He’s in federal prison for hiring a hitman to kill Baskin. He also has more than a dozen wildlife violations including the killing of five tigers. Exotic is still serving his sentence despite his legal team announcing their plans to ask Donald Trump for a pardon.
Animal Planet’s new Surviving Joe Exotic documentary is set to premiere later this week.
What are your thoughts on the latest Tiger King lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.