Donkey Kong diva denied in Cartoon Network depiction lawsuit

"When the character loses, he literally explodes, unlike the plaintiff."

One of the world's top arcade game players has lost a legal battle with Cartoon Network over its depiction of him as a giant floating head.

Billy Mitchell, 50, who lives in Hollywood, held the world record top score on Donkey Kong for many years. He was the first to ever achieve a perfect game on Pac-Man and was also the first to pass 1m points on Ms. Pac-Man.

Mitchell found further fame when he featured in the 2007 documentary The King of Kong, where another gamer tried to topple his high score.

It was following this that The Regular Show, an animated series from Cartoon Network, began featuring a character that looked similar to Mitchell - albeit as a disembodied bearded head with arms.

1
GBF and Billy Mitchell (right).

Within the Regular Show the character is named as GBF - an acroynm for Garrett Bobby Ferguson or, more descriptively, Giant Bearded Face. The character is shown to be an alien that cheats to win video games.

Mitchell objected to this portrayal and so launched a lawsuit against Cartoon Network for damages.

But the legal challenge has now been thrown out by New Jersey Federal District Judge Anne Thompson.

"The television character does not match the plaintiff in appearance," Thompson ruled (via AP). "GBF appears as a non-human creature, a giant floating head with no body from outer space, while Plaintiff is a human being.

"And when GBF loses his title, the character literally explodes, unlike Plaintiff."

Cartoon Network is protected over any similarity of its character to Mitchell due to First Amendment laws (ensuring free speech) and the free right to parody.

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Tom Phillips

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