The recent offering by HeroBuilders of an “Ebola Nurse” doll raises some interesting Right of Publicity implications. Putting aside any debate over tastefulness or appropriateness, the doll also resembles Kaci Hickox. Hickox is the nurse who has been in the headlines recently and who was quarantined in New Jersey against her will. The doll apparently is accompanied by an Ebola-free health certificate.
Frequent visitors to this site may notice the similarity between this story and the 2009 offering by TY (Beanie Babies) of Sasha and Malia dolls immediately following the first-term election of President Obama, which I wrote about here:
Ty claimed the dolls were not of the President’s daughters, a transparent explanation considering the context of the use and totality of circumstances in which the dolls were offered. Ty claimed to have pulled the dolls off hte marketplace some time later, but not before their mission was accomplished.
It could be interesting to see if HeroBuilders is working from the same playbook, and if any more comes of the Ebola Nurse doll.
Here’s a link to a story with more details and images of the doll itself:
Citation: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem vs. General Motors; Case 2:10-cv-03790-AHM -JC Document 187 Filed 10/15/12