News Anchor Calls Hamster Toy ‘Insulting’


     NEWARK, N.J. (CN) – A Fox News anchor sued toymaker Hasbro for what she considers its misappropriation of her name and likeness to create a toy hamster.
     The toy is one of dozens based on characters from Hasbro’s television show “The Littlest Pet Shop.” The hamster toy, which is named Harris Faulkner, was introduced in 2014 as part of the “Pet Pawsabilities” line, but is one of the few that doesn’t share a corresponding TV character.
     It does share its name with real-life news anchor Harris Faulkner, who works for Fox News. In a lawsuit filed Monday in New Jersey federal court, the TV journalist sued Hasbro for false endorsement and right of publicity. She seeks $5 million in damages.
     “Hasbro’s manufacture, sale, and distribution of the Harris Faulkner Hamster Doll is extremely concerning and distressing to Faulkner,” the lawsuit states. “Further, Hasbro’s portrayal of Faulkner as a rodent is demeaning and insulting.”
     According to the lawsuit, Faulkner “put Hasbro on notice” in early 2015 that the toy infringed on her name and likeness, but Hasbro allegedly kept the toy on its website for months afterwards. The toy is no longer listed on Hasbro’s site, but can be purchased from Amazon and other websites, the complaint states.
     The toy is designed to look like a tiny hamster with a butterfly on its head, and is bundled with another toy named Benson Detwyler. The Detwyler character has appeared on “The Littlest Pet Shop” television show, but is unnamed on the show. Harris’s character has not appeared on the show. Other characters on the show include Hugsy Lovejoy, Ruffles O’Reilly and Rocco Ramsbottom.
     The lawsuit also takes issue with the doll’s packaging, claiming that it is a chocking hazard unsuitable for small children, and the false implication that she has a business relationship with Hasbro.
     Faulkner – the human being, not the toy – is a six-time Emmy-winning reporter with Fox News and anchors the weekly “Fox Report Weekend” show. The 49-year-old New Jersey resident, who has also worked at “A Current Affair” and substituted as anchor on “The Nancy Grace Show,” is considered a rising star at the network, according to the lawsuit.
     Attorney Paul Halasz of Day Pitney, who represents Faulkner, did not respond to requests for comment. Hasbro did not immediately return an email request for comment.

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