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Butterbean Sues NBC Universal

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) - Butterbean, the personable, roly-poly pro boxer and mixed martial artist, says Universal Pictures, NBC Universal and Illumination Entertainment are using his image without permission and showing him in a "negative" and "demeaning" light.

Eric Esch aka Butterbean has appeared in movies, TV shows and video games and is recognizable by his physique, bald head, U.S. flag boxing trunks and "Sweet Home Alabama" theme song.

Butterbean says the defendants plan to release a 3-D computer-animated film next year called "Despicable Me." A trailer for the film, shown during several summer movies in general release, "prominently" features a character that bears an uncanny resemblance to Butterbean, who says the defendants used his image without permission. He says the trailer uses his likeness in a "negative" and "demeaning" light.

He seeks damages for commercial misappropriation. He is represented in Federal Court by David A. Welling of Akron, Ohio.

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