NEWARK, N.J. – Hasbro Inc. wants a federal judge to dismiss a $5 million lawsuit filed by a Fox News anchor who says a toy hamster shares her name and resembles her.
Harris Faulkner sued Hasbro in August over its plastic Harris Faulkner hamster, sold as part of the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based company’s popular “Littlest Pet Shop” line. She says the toy wrongfully appropriates her name and persona, harms her professional credibility as a journalist and is an insult.
The toy company says in a filing Monday in federal court in New Jersey that the toy and Faulkner share nothing in common except for their name and that the toy and newscaster are distinctly different and there’s no basis to find that Hasbro misappropriated her unique identity.
“Ms. Faulkner is an adult, African-American, human, female newscaster; the Hamster Toy is an inch-tall, cartoon-like plastic animal, which has no apparent gender or profession, or even clothing that might identify its gender or profession,” the company said in its motion.
Faulkner’s lawsuit says that in addition to sharing her name, the toy bears a physical resemblance to Faulkner’s traditional professional appearance, including its complexion, eye shape and eye makeup design.
The Harris Faulkner toy was introduced in 2014, according to the lawsuit, and was sold in a package as the pet hamster of a terrier named Benson Detwyler. Other toys in the popular line include animals named Pancakes Watkins, Puffball Petrovsky and Pepper Clark.
The lawsuit says Faulkner, a New Jersey resident, never gave permission for Hasbro to use her name or likeness and that she even demanded in January that Hasbro stop using it. More than three weeks later, it was still for sale on Hasbro’s website, the lawsuit contends. It says that as of July, Faulkner’s name was still being used on a website to sell “Littlest Pet Shop” products, and the plastic hamster that bears her name can still be bought at other online retail stores.
Faulkner hosts the daytime show “Outnumbered” and anchors a Sunday evening newscast for Fox News.