Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Makers Facing Lawsuit For Infringing On TV Psychic Miss Cleo

Miss Cleo

A lawsuit has been filed against Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games by a group of professional psychics who say that the character of Auntie Poulet in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City resembles the late TV psychic Miss Cleo just a bit too much.

The lawsuit in question was filed on Wednesday against the owners of the Grand Theft Auto series by the Psychic Readers Network, an organization that owns the copyright for Miss Cleo’s TV persona as a psychic by the real name of Youree Harris. According to the lawsuit, the PRN claims that they’ve spent quite a bit of money over the past few years building up the character of Miss Cleo before the famous TV psychic passed away in 2016 at the age of 53. Saying that they’ve spent over $100 million to promote Miss Cleo, the organization claims that the Grand Theft Auto series has used the character to earn themselves over $500 million since Vice City came out.

And the date that Vice City came out is certainly one of the more interesting parts of the lawsuit. If you think that the game seems somewhat dated from the video shown above that shows off the character that’s the center of the lawsuit, you’d be correct. The game came out in 2002, so gamers and professional alike have had more than enough time to recognize the similarities between the two characters. Why the lawsuit is being filed now of all times is certainly a curious part of the case, but the PRN claims that Rockstar Games has continued to make money off of the game and subsequently the character throughout the years.

Those who remember the character from the game will recall that Miss Cleo actually voiced the character of Auntie Poulet in Vice City, and many players who experience the game and the character felt that she did an excellent job doing so. While the voices shared between the character and the voice actor are undeniably the same, issues that the lawsuit revolves around stem from the further similarities that the two have regarding their appearance. The PRN claims that the animations and overall appearance of Auntie Poulet bear too much resemblance to the woman who voiced the character.

No specified monetary amount being asked for by the PRN has been announced, but according to a response issued to TMZ, the Grand Theft Auto creators have said “These claims are entirely meritless and completely ridiculous. We will vigorously defend ourselves with regard to this matter.”

[via TMZ]