NEW YORK (Reuters) – Tough-guy actor and martial arts expert sued publisher Penguin on Friday over a book he claims unfairly exploits his famous name, based on a satirical Internet list of “mythical facts” about him.
Penguin published “The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World’s Greatest Human” in November. Author Ian Spector and two Web sites he runs to promote the book, including http://www.truthaboutchuck.com, are also named in the suit.
The book capitalizes on “mythical facts” that have been circulating on the Internet since 2005 that poke fun at Norris’ tough-guy image and super-human abilities, the suit said.
It includes such humorous “facts” as “Chuck Norris’s tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried” and “Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits,” the suit said, as well as “Chuck Norris can charge a cell phone by rubbing it against his beard.”
“Some of the ‘facts’ in the book are racist, lewd or portray Mr. Norris as engaged in illegal activities,” the lawsuit alleges.
Norris, who rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s as the star of such films as “The Delta Force” and “Missing in Action,” says the book’s title would mislead readers into thinking the facts were true.
“Defendants have misappropriated and exploited Mr. Norris’s name and likeness without authorization for their own commercial profit,” said the lawsuit.
The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks unspecified monetary damages for trademark infringement, unjust enrichment and privacy rights.
Norris, whose real name is Carlos Ray Norris, claims in the suit he is protective of what his name is associated with. He has recently made U.S. headlines for backing Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
A spokesman for Penguin, owned by Britain’s Pearson, was not immediately available for comment.