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Warner Bros. Was Sued By Tattoo Artist After It Copied Mike Tyson's Famous Tattoo In Hangover II

Aisha Nozari

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Warner Bros. Was Sued By Tattoo Artist After It Copied Mike Tyson's Famous Tattoo In Hangover II

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Warner Bros.

That scene in the Hangover II where Stu gets a Mike Tyson-inspired face tattoo is an absolute lol-fest, but did you know it landed Warner Bros. in some very hot water?

The entertainment company was actually sued by tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill - who gave Tyson his world-famous tribal tattoo - back in 2011.

The lawsuit was settled in June of that year, almost a month after the Hangover II hit cinemas. 

Whitmill claimed the tattoo Ed Helms’ character got in the film infringed the copyrighted tattoo he needled into Tyson’s face, and that Warner Bros. never contacted him to get his permission to use the design. 

Warner Bros. was actually sued by tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill - who gave Tyson his world-famous tribal tattoo - back in 2011. Credit: Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. was actually sued by tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill - who gave Tyson his world-famous tribal tattoo - back in 2011. Credit: Warner Bros.

While the case was settled during an ‘all-day’ mediation, terms of the settlement weren’t revealed.

The win - which was exclusively covered by The Hollywood Reporter more than a decade ago - meant Warner Bros. didn’t have to digitally scrub Stu’s tattoo.

Whitmill’s attorney Geoff Gerber said at the time: “Warner Bros. and Mr. Whitmill have amicably resolved their dispute. No other information will be provided.”

Whitmill’s lawyer’s official complaint filing read: “When Mr. Whitmill created the Original Tattoo, Mr Tyson agreed that Mr. Whitmill would own the artwork and thus, the copyright in the Original Tattoo.

“Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. — without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation — has copied Mr. Whitmill’s Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor … This unauthorised exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement.”

Whitmill claimed that the tattoo Ed Helms’ character got in the film infringed the copyrighted tattoo he needled into Tyson’s face. Credit: Alamy
Whitmill claimed that the tattoo Ed Helms’ character got in the film infringed the copyrighted tattoo he needled into Tyson’s face. Credit: Alamy

Unfortunate face tatt aside, Helms’ character Stu had a famously hard time of it in the boozy trilogy, even yanking his own front tooth out with a set of pliers in the first movie. 

Helms previously revealed that his tooth was actually missing when he shot the flick, although a rusty pair of pliers weren’t the IRL culprit. 

Speaking to PEOPLE back in 2009, Helms explained: “It is totally real. I have an implant. An adult tooth never came in and when I was 16, they did a permanent implant."

He added: "We started to do different tests with prosthetics and blacking it out and nothing worked.

"I wasn't eager to take out my implant because my mouth is healthy, but I talked to my dentist and he was like, 'Yeah we can do it!' My dentist was really into it."

Topics: TV and Film

Aisha Nozari
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