Why Conservatives Should Hope Lindsay Lohan’s Lawsuit Fails

Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit over Grand Theft Auto 5 would set a precedent allowing politicians to censor parodies.

Saturday Night Live mocks politicians by dressing in their likeness all the time. The First Amendment guarantees that they and everyone else are free to do so. I don’t see how that practice could stand if Lindsay Lohan won her lawsuit against Take 2 Interactive for allegedly “using her image” in their video game, Grand Theft Auto 5.

Grand-Theft-Auto-V

I realize most conservatives probably don’t care much for GTA 5, but that is beside the point. Lohan is claiming that their fictional game character, Lacey Jonas, is “really” supposed to be Lindsay Lohan (the two pictures on the right in the image above are of Jonas).

As TechDirt recently reported to bring us up to date with the case,

When we last left the saga of Lindsay Lohan’s 10 page complaint against Take 2 Interactive over a publicly-fornicating, drunk-driving character in Grand Theft Auto 5 that she insisted was her own spitting image, Take 2 was asking for the whole thing to be dismissed because the character is obviously not a reproduction of Lohan at all, but a parody take on celebrity fame.

See, I don’t think Take 2 is using good strategy. When Lohan hears that the character is “a parody take on celebrity fame,” she probably thinks the company must be admitting guilt since, after all, her entire life is, at the moment, pretty much is nothing more than a parody of celebrity fame.

In their recent attempt to preserve the lawsuit and get past the statute of limitations problem (since Lohan waited over a year before suddenly insisting that the image of the character was her), Lohan’s Lawyers filed an amended complaint “chock-filled with images of Lohan in what she’s insisting proves that Take 2 used her image as a basis for Lacey Jonas.”

[See also, “Clintonites Use Trademark Law to Suppress Political Speech.”]

This is what bothers me: Who cares? Lohan is obviously famous, in part, because she acts like a stock character from a video game. She is a parody. What if the next iteration of the game franchise used a character who constantly stuck her tongue out like Gene Simmons of KISS or like Bill the Cat (for those of you who remember Bloom County)? Is that now illegal because Miley Cyrus has engaged in such behavior?

There is no way such a principle could be restricted to non-government celebrities. It would apply to political satire and pointed fiction. Giving politicians the right to sue anyone who used their likeness in a parody would be a cancellation of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee. Lohan needs to fail.