Florida ‘Joker’ Accuses GTA VI of Using His Likeness, Demands Compensation

Lawrence Sullivan, known as the ‘Florida Joker’ due to his distinctive facial tattoos and resemblance to the Joker character, has accused Rockstar Games of using his likeness in the Grand Theft Auto VI (GTA VI) trailer. His claim is based on a character in the trailer with purple hair and facial tattoos similar to Sullivan’s, including a “Chelsea smile” tattoo, echoing Jared Leto’s Joker from Suicide Squad.

Sullivan, whose mugshot went viral in 2017 following an arrest for firearm and marijuana possession, has taken to TikTok to voice his allegations. He claims the character in the trailer, who appears in prison garb, is directly inspired by his look and has demanded compensation from Rockstar, suggesting a sum of one to two million dollars.

This controversy arises as Rockstar Games released the GTA VI trailer on December 4, which swiftly became one of YouTube’s most-viewed videos. Sullivan’s tattoos and green hair, which he adopted due to a personal affinity for the Joker character, particularly Heath Ledger’s portrayal, have made him a notable internet figure.

In a TikTok video, Sullivan asserts the unmistakable similarity between his mugshot and the character in the game, stating, “That’s me – that’s the person they got their inspiration from me,” and adding, “Florida Joker ain’t having that. Y’all took my likeness. Y’all took my life.”

However, legal experts and industry insiders suggest Sullivan may face an uphill battle in court. This situation echoes the case of Lindsay Lohan, who sued Rockstar in 2014 over a character in Grand Theft Auto 5, alleging it mirrored her appearance. The lawsuit was dismissed by the New York State Supreme Court, which ruled that such depictions in works of fiction are not subject to the same advertising laws.

Adding to the debate, another social media user, @zoeepoppyy, has also called out Rockstar Games for allegedly using his likeness in the GTA VI trailer, citing similarities in jewelry and appearance.

In response to Sullivan’s claim, Roger Clark, voice actor for Red Dead Redemption 2, advised Sullivan to capitalize on the notoriety, warning him about Rockstar’s legal prowess. The case highlights ongoing issues in the gaming industry regarding the use of real-life likenesses in fictional settings, bringing into question the boundaries between artistic creation and personal identity rights.

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