Activision being sued by historical figure Savimbi's survivors for an inaccurate portrayal in Call of Duty Black ops 2.

Activision is being sued by Jonas Savimbi’s children, and seeking “€1 million in damages” for an inaccurate depiction of their father in Call of Duty Black Ops 2.

Despite all of the controversy about their father, the children of Savimbi were alarmed by the depiction of him in Activion’s blockbuster hit Call of Duty Black ops 2. The family argues that he was a “political leader and strategist,” and not a “barbarian” or a “big halfwit who wants to kill everybody.”

In the early 1960’s, Jonas Savimbi was a political and military leader for the Republic of Angola, who ended up founding and leading the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, the UNITA. He was killed in 2002, the result of a dispute against the Angolan Government.

One segment of the game in particular—seen in the video above—that caused the family to file suit is the line Savimbi’s shouts before charging to battle, “DEATH TO THE MPLA!” However, during an interview with The Guardian a legal representative for Activision Blizzard stated he was a “good guy,” in the video game and “portrayed ‘for who he was…a character of Angolan history, a guerrilla chief who fought the [People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola]."

Savimbi’s surviving children are seeking €1 million in damages from Activision Blizzard's French arm, as they live in France.  However, the game developer's legal counsel claims that the lawsuit is “without merit."

This is not the first time a lawsuit has been filed against the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 developer for not asking permission to use someone's image. A suit was filed by Manuel Noriega for using his “name and likeness” last year, and was thrown out of court. The game’s publisher asserted that artistic interpretation allows for the depiction of historical figures in movies, books, television, and games as a form of free speech. This strategy will also be used once more against the Savimbi case.


Father, writer, and gamer. Pro gamer for Halo 2 & 3 from 2007-2009. Trying new things every day. I wish I could have written more.

Published Jan. 16th 2016

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