Magazine Says It Coined ‘Tiger King’ Title, Sues Netflix Over ‘Tawdry’ Series of Same Name

Hollywood Weekly Magazine filed a trademark lawsuit

Tiger King Joe Exotic
Photo credit: Tiger King Records/Netflix

Netflix was sued Friday over the “Tiger King” series, with an entertainment magazine saying it actually coined Joe Exotic’s famous title, it has the trademark and advertisers with the “no gossip” publication now want to cancel their accounts due to the seeming connection to the “tawdry” documentary

Hollywood Weekly Magazine, according to the complaint filed in the Central District of California, is distributed in over 500 locations worldwide and coined the term “Tiger King” in 2013 as a nickname for Joe Exotic when it featured him in the publication. Joe Exotic later became the star of Netflix’s now-iconic docu-series, which premiered in March 2020. The magazine’s trademark application was filed July 2.

The lawsuit, which also names CBS Studios, Paramount and Imagine Television, covers “trademark and copyright infringement, unfair business practices and unjust enrichment.” After the Netflix show dropped, “HWM advertisers have wanted to cancel due to the confusion and very easily plausible and obvious connection between the Series and HWM,” states lawyer Michael F. Frank in the complaint, reviewed by TheWrap.

“The advertisers were extremely upset causing Plaintiffs to be in shock. They disclosed to Plaintiffs that the Series they watched was a tawdry television program which featured Plaintiffs’ Mark1 in the name of the Series associated it with Plaintiffs, and Plaintiffs Publication and Mark2 were physically used and displayed in the Series as well as the Mark1 being prominently displayed and spoken about throughout the Series. This had the effect of tying the Plaintiffs to the Series without any compensation, release, permission, license, nor assignment thereof, and causing Plaintiffs problems with advertisers and customers, and completely turning ‘No Gossip, Strictly Entertainment’ HWM decades and expensive creation on its head,” concluded the complaint, which says the magazine has spent years building up a reputation for not including gossip,” the suit says.

TheWrap has reached out to Netflix for comment.