'Sesame Street' creators sue backer of raunchy puppet film

'Defendants do not own, control or have any right to use the SESAME STREET mark. Couple that with puppets that are identified in the film's synopsis as working on a children's TV show, and who bear more than superficial resemblances to muppets used on Sesame Street, and a compelling case could be built that the trailer is creating genuine confusion among a segment of the audience.

The lawsuit seems predicated around the fact that the film uses the tagline "No Sesame".

Sesame Street characters, clockwise from bottom left, Grover, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Elmo and Oscar the Grouch.

The creators of Sesame Street are suing over a new movie trailer that they claim suggests certain puppets live depraved, brutal lives when offstage - snorting hard drugs through licorice straws, selling sexual favors to humans and succumbing to gun violence. "SESAME STREET is a registered trademark of Sesame, an organization with a long and storied history of "helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder.' 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".

The suit goes on to state that if viewers believe Sesame Street was behind the R-Rated movie it will cause 'irreparable injury to Sesame's mark and brand'.

The elder Henson's Muppets - including characters Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie and Big Bird - have been a key feature of "Sesame Street" since the show launched on public television in 1969.

Though Sesame Street Workshop has filed their lawsuit, they aren't the only ones turning to legal action.

It continued: "While we're disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position".

"The Happytime Murders", scheduled for an August 17 release, is directed by Brian Henson, the son of "The Muppet Show" creator Jim Henson who also helped develop the puppet characters of "Sesame Street" when it launched in 1969.

This whole issue is a bit ironic and unusual, because The Happytime Murders was written and directed by Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson, whose famous Muppets are still featured on the show to this day.

The movie is set to premiere in the U.S. on August 17.

Along with Melissa, the film co-stars Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks.

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