Morgan Creek Productions sued Netflix and the producers of King tiger for copyright infringement on the use of Ace Ventura 2 clips in the hit reality series.
The show, which became a hit when it was released in March 2020, focused on Joseph Maldonado Passage, aka “Joe Exotic”, owner of a “big cat” zoo.
“The series was filled with sordid tales of animal abuse, bulky guns and a pipe-dreaming run for president,” the lawsuit against Netflix and Goode Films read. “More importantly, the program followed a for-hire conspiracy targeting a competing animal sanctuary owner hated by Joe Exotic and viewed as a threat to his ‘big cat’ empire.” That person was Carole Baskin, and Joe Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence.
The lawsuit claims the show used two clips of As Venture 2 starring star Jim Carrey “without permission or license”. One of these clips showed Carrey with a “monkey wrapped around his neck and shoulder” and another “triumphantly riding an elephant”.
The lawsuit says the two clips, which totaled five seconds of screen time, were shown in a King tiger sequence in which animals such as tigers, panthers, monkeys and great apes are shown.
“Leaving no doubt about the source, a dubbed voice identifies a film such as Ace Ventura, at the precise moment when the offending clips appear on the screen,” said the trial. “Plantiff is informed and believes, and then alleges, that Ace Ventura is the only film used in Tiger King where more than one clip appears.”
Morgan Creek alleges that the episode was seen by “an audience of literally millions of viewers – many more than once, multiplying the damage done to MCP – knowing or having reason to know that the use of counterfeit clips was without permission, content or license.
He also claims that the “two comedy scenes” served to “enhance the commercial value of King tigerÂ»Showing that wild animals are often used in film and television productions; the addition of “lightness” to the episode, which helped increase the number of viewers; and implying that the people behind As Ventura 2 were promoting King tiger favorably.”
Morgan Creek, who says it tried to resolve the dispute before taking legal action, to no avail, seeks legal damages as well as attorney fees and calls for defendants to be permanently banned from using the clips belonging to at Morgan Creek.
Hollywood journalist contacted Netflix for comment.