Evel Knievel’s son is suing Disney and Pixar over alleged similarities between the famous stuntman and the character Duke Caboom from 2019’s Toy Story 4.
Kelly Knievel — whose company K and K Promotions filed the federal trademark infringement lawsuit in Las Vegas — has maintained publicity rights to Evel Knievel’s name since 1998, The Associated Press reports.
“Evel Knievel did not thrill millions around the world, break his bones and spill his blood just so Disney could make a bunch of money,” he wrote Wednesday in a statement announcing the legal move.
Knievel is seeking over $300,000 in damages in the suit, which also includes allegations of false endorsement and unjust enrichment.
The complaint accuses the company of intentionally basing the character on Knievel, who died in 2007. It reportedly describes the Keanu Reeves-voiced Caboom as a 1970s toy daredevil in a white jumpsuit and helmet with a Canadian insignia.
The complaint also alleges similarities between a toy sold as part of the film’s marketing campaign and an Evel Knievel toy launched in 1973 and recently rereleased. The Caboom character was also used by McDonald’s as part of a “Happy Meal” promotion.
Though the lawsuit notes that both reviewers and consumers “universally caught on to the connection” between Caboom and Knievel, it adds that both Reeves and the movie company avoided to publicly acknowledge the comparison, “even if directly asked.”
After Disney denied the allegations, K and K responded Thursday by saying, “It is obvious Duke Caboom is a knock off of EveI Knievel.”
“I don’t see a big long line of Disney executives ready to get on a motorcycle and jump 13 buses, nor do I remember any Canadian daredevils from the ’70s,” the company wrote in a statement. “While we note that Disney uses their Mickey Mouse lawyers to aggressively protect Disney intellectual property, they did not seek permission to use Evel Knievel at any time.”