Sesame Street creators sue over 'graphic' puppet film starring Melissa McCarthy

The organisation behind children's tv show Sesame Street have launched legal proceedings against a film company for using the Sesame Street name "to market a graphic, adult-themed movie".

The nonprofit organisation, Sesame Workshop, has filed a lawsuit in New York against STX Entertainment alleging that the marketing campaign behind their upcoming film The Happytime Murders tarnishes the Sesame Street brand.

Melissa McCarthy stars in The Happytime Murders

According to a statement released by Sesame Workshop: "We were surprised and disappointed that Sesame Street is being exploited to market this R-rated film.

"We immediately contacted the film's distributor, STX Films, and requested that they remove our name from the film's marketing.

"They declined to do so.

"We take no issue with the creative freedom of the filmmakers and their right to make and promote this movie, rather this is about how our name is being misused to market a film with which we have no association."

The Happytime Murders is directed by Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson who made the puppets for Sesame Street and also created The Muppets and Fraggle Rock.

The film stars Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph and Joel McHale.

One of the tag lines being used in the marketing of the film is "No Sesame. All Street.".

McCarthy plays a disgraces LAPD detective-turned-private eye who takes on an investigation into a string of puppet murders.

The red-band, extremely NSFW trailer -which can be viewed here - was released over the weekend and has seen a lot of reaction on social media.

Sesame Workshop has included screengrabs of social media reactions in its lawsuit.

STX Entertainment responded to the lawsuit with a statement which they sent to the Huffington Post. They said that the statement was crafted by their puppet lawyer Fred, Esq.

The statement reads: "STX loved the idea of working closely with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets when they’re not performing in front of children. ‘Happytime Murders’ is the happy result of that collaboration and we’re incredibly pleased with the early reaction to the film and how well the trailer has been received by its intended audience.

"While we’re disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position. We look forward to introducing adult moviegoers to our adorably unapologetic characters this summer." - Fred, Esq., lawyer for STX Entertainment.

Digital Desk

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