As far as most of us are concerned, Sesame Street puppets don’t have bodily fluids like blood and semen. They are made of felt and giant hugs. And the show’s producers are willing to take legal action to defend that position.
, which carries the tagline “NO SESAME, ALL STREET,” believes quite the opposite, however. The “puppet crime comedy” about a private detective puppet and a Detective (Melissa McCarthy) who team up together to track down a serial killer features violent Sesame-esque puppets that allegedly aren’t afraid .
This week, Sesame Workshop, producer of the educational series, against STX Productions, Happytime‘s producers, arguing that audiences are likely to confuse the brand with the movie and that the movie tarnishes the brand’s reputation.
“Defendants’ widely-distributed marketing campaign features a just-released trailer with explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets, along with the tagline ‘NO SESAME. ALL STREET.’” the suit reads.
“Defendants do not own, control or have any right to use the SESAME STREET mark. Instead, they are distributing a trailer that deliberately confuses consumers into mistakenly believing that Sesame is associated with, has allowed, or has even endorsed or produced the movie and tarnishes Sesame’s brand.”
Sesame added that it was not trying to block the film’s production:
“Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, learned last Friday that the name Sesame Street is being used to market a graphic, adult-themed movie. We were surprised and disappointed that Sesame Street, a show dedicated to educating young children, is being exploited to market this R-rated film,” Sesame said in a statement. “We immediately contacted the film’s distributor, STX Films, and requested that they remove our name from the film’s marketing. They declined to do so. We take no issue with the creative freedom of the filmmakers and their right to make and promote this movie, rather this is about how our name is being misused to market a film with which we have no association. We regret that our fans and families have been confused by STX’s marketing campaign.”
Fred, Esq., a puppet from the film, responded in a statement:
“STX loved the idea of working closely with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets when they’re not performing in front of children. Happytime Murders is the happy result of that collaboration and we’re incredibly pleased with the early reaction to the film and how well the trailer has been received by its intended audience. While we’re disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position. We look forward to introducing adult moviegoers to our adorably unapologetic characters this summer.”
For the record, I don’t think all Sesame Street puppets commit serial murders or violent crime when they’re off camera. They’re too meek, soft and cookie-driven to do that. #NotAllPuppets.