A man named ‘Florida Joker’ is threatening to sue Rockstar Games over the likeliness between himself and one of the characters in the hugely anticipated GTA 6.
In a series of videos posted online since the beginning of December, the Florida Joker – real name Lawrence Sullivan – has made multiple demands for compensation to Rockstar, starting with $2 million before eventually increasing it to $10 million a month later.
His dispute is over the appearance of one of the characters showcased in the GTA 6 trailer, released last year, showing a prisoner with face tattoos and purple hair. The Florida Joker also has face tattoos, but didn’t originally have purple hair. He dyed his hair purple a few days after his initial demand for compensation, presumably in an attempt to strengthen his case against the developers of one of the most successful video game franchises in the world.
In his first video, Sullivan simply recognizes the similarities in their appearance before saying “we gotta talk.” Just a few days later, he posts another video, claiming “Ya’ll took my likeness, y’all took my life” before demanding a $2 million payout from Rockstar.
A third video, in which now he has purple hair and is wearing an orange jumpsuit to make him look even more like the character, Sullivan demands an additional $1 million because “I’m giving you the biggest free marketing.”
Update 2: Florida Joker is threatening a lawsuit after dyeing his hair purple to look like the character featured in the GTA 6 trailer:
— GTA 6 Countdown ⏳ (@GTAVI_Countdown) December 12, 2023
Following a month of video updates, where he regularly threatens legal action and claims he has contacted his lawyers to build a case against Rockstar, the ‘Florida Joker’ now appears to be adopting a softer approach for compensation. In his most recent video, he asks Rockstar for a deal to voice his character in GTA 6, before saying, “I’m really not trying to sue ya’ll, but if I got to, I will.”
There were also threats to join forces with the GTA 6 hacker who cost Rockstar Games $5 million last year.
Does the Florida Joker have a case against Rockstar?
It’s unlikely, because there is actually precedent for this kind of thing, especially involving Rockstar.
Following the release of GTA V, actress Lindsay Lohan attempted to sue Rockstar because an in-game actress looked like her, sounded like her and even dressed in clothes that resembled her own clothing line. After a four year legal battle, New York state’s Court of Appeals rejected her case, stating the character simply resembled a generic young woman.
So the odds don’t look good for the Florida Joker, who currently seems hell-bent on getting something out of Rockstar one way or another.
To make matters worse for Sullivan, lawyer Rob Freund, who has won a similar case for a video game publisher in the past, said on X that his chances of successfully beating Rockstar in the courts is very low. He posted: “None of the tattoos are the same, his hair isn’t the same, his face isn’t the same.
“It’s just another guy with face tattoos. At least that’s what Rockstar would say, and I’d bet on them prevailing. I don’t think it’s clear enough and referencing someone isn’t enough to be unlawful.”
Featured Image: X, @GTAVI_Countdown