Sued over a fifteen year old game.
Rockstar is no stranger to controversy given the mature nature of its games, but that controversy usually occurs soon after the launch of their latest game. However, a lawsuit has been filed against the developer over a character that appears in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a game that’s fifteen years old.
A character appears in Vice City named Auntie Poulet, who is voiced by the famous physic Miss Cleo. Youree Dell Harris, who was the real woman behind the Miss Cleo persona, passed away in 2016 but the rights to Miss Cleo is still owned by the Psychic Readers Network. The organization claims Rockstar used Miss Cleo’s likeness in Vice City without permission.
As TMZ reports, the Psychic Readers Network claims it spent over $100million over the years promoting the persona Miss Cleo and that Rockstar made millions simply by having Miss Cleo/Auntie Poulet in Vice City. A spokesperson from Rockstar has stated: “These claims are entirely meritless and completely ridiculous. We will vigorously defend ourselves with regard to this matter.”
The Psychic Readers Network is no stranger to lawsuits itself. In 2002, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint stating the company’s “entire operation is alleged to be permeated with fraud.” Psychic Readers Network and Active Resource Services ended up paying a $5 million fine and agreed to forgive $500 million in uncollected bills.