Lohan and Gravano Sue Take-Two
In 2014, actress Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano, who was on Mob Wives, sued the company Take-Two, which published Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 5. The women claimed that the company had used their images, and some circumstances from their lives in the video game, without their permission. During the initial lawsuits filed separately by Gravano and Lohan, the judge, Justice Joan Kenney ruled that in both cases, the characters weren’t based on the two and that the lawsuits would not proceed. Take-Two then countered and asked for fines against the plaintiffs for filing lawsuits that had no merit. Fast forward a couple of years, and things have changed dramatically.
The Judge Gets the Game and Changes Her Mind
The judge looked deeper into the game and has now allowed the lawsuits to proceed. Strangely enough, it is the same judge that originally did not allow the lawsuits to go forward. She has now rejected the claims that the resemblance between the characters is only circumstantial. Take-Two is now appealing that decision.
The game publisher says that the game “is a creative work of fiction and therefore is protected against their right of publicity claims under New York Law and the First Amendment.” Gravano, daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, says that’s not true, and that one of the characters in the game, Antonia Bottino is based on her and that the character uses a line from her book called Mob Daughter.
She says that, “This directly mirrors my life, as detailed in my book, where I stated that ‘that was my greatest fear, that I would be ripped out of my former life but I’d be sent to Nebraska to become a cow herder.’” The line from the game that she’s comparing her story to is similar, but it is certai
nly not the same. The game line says, “We had to go into hiding. Move out west. One day you’re living the good life, the next you’re moving around safe houses in fat old hick towns where no one comes looking.”
Lohan has problems with the character of Lacey Jonas. She claims that the character looks like her, wears the same types of clothing, has a similar voice, and that the character stays at the Hotel Chateau Marmont in the game. The name of the hotel in the game is different, but it is based on the real Hotel Chateau Marmont. In one of the game’s missions, the player has to rescue Lacey from a group of paparazzi, and Lohan claims this mirrors her life as well. She says that the game violates her privacy and she is seeking damages, which have thus far been undisclosed.
The games in this series have often used parody of the real world to help them illustrate their themes, but they are no stranger to controversy. The games have been railed upon for their violence and their adult nature. It will be interesting to see exactly how this case moves forward and what the outcome will be.