Activision sued by former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega over unauthorized Black Ops 2 appearance

Manuel Noriega was the dictator of Panama for most of the 1980s, until he was removed from power by way of a U.S. invasion. His villainous exploits landed him a small role in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 , but his image was used without permission, and that has led to what has to be today's most bizarre lawsuit.

The Courthouse News Service reports that Noriega has filed a lawsuit against Activision over the "blatant misuse" of his image in Black Ops 2. Amazingly, the suit claims his appearance "caused damage" to Noriega by portraying him "as an antagonist and... as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes." He's depicted "as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state," it adds, noting that at one point in the game the goal is "solely to capture plaintiff."

"Defendants' video game, 'Black Ops 2,' features several nonfiction characters, including plaintiff, for one purpose: to heighten realism in its video game, 'Black Ops 2.' This translates directly into heightened sales for defendants," the suit states. "Defendants deliberately and systematically misappropriated plaintiff's likeness to increase revenues and royalties, at the expense of plaintiff and without the consent of plaintiff."

Of course, Noriega was a pretty bad dude, which is what makes the lawsuit so laughable, but according to lawyer Jas Purewall he may also lack standing to bring the suit in the first place. "In the U.S., individuals have what's called the right to publicity, which gives them control over how their person is depicted in commerce including videogames," he told the BBC . "But Noriega isn't a U.S. citizen or even a resident. This means that his legal claim becomes questionable, because it's unclear on what legal basis he can actually bring a case against Activision."

Noriega, who is now 80, is currently serving out a 20-year prison sentence in Panama.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.