Everyone from Saturday Night Live to your grandmother on Facebook is parodying Donald Trump these days, and one man recently received a hefty bounty to mass-produce Trump mockery. But a potential lawsuit appears to have derailed the Kickstarter campaign aimed at turning President Donald Trump into a Troll doll.
Chuck Williams, a former Disney sculptor and current Wisconsin resident, created a miniature, Troll-doll version of Trump back in early February to the delight of his Facebook friends. The sculptor's tiny-handed hit made its way to Kickstarter later in the month, and it was raking in the bucks on the crowd-funding website almost immediately. Williams' campaign raised over $160,000 in the first week, and was on its way to wild success before a legal dispute entered the picture.
The link that used to take you to the donation page now redirects to a message from the Kickstarter team. Kickstarter says Williams' project, appropriately named, "The Official World's Greatest Troll Sculpt" is part of an intellectual property dispute, making it unavailable for the time being.
Another page on Kickstarter's website delves further into the matter, and it identifies copyright holders NBC Universal as the party pursuing legal action. NBC claims the copyright they own through Dreamworks includes, "all of the original visual elements in relation to the Dam Trolls/Good Luck Trolls character, including the furry up-combed hair, naked and pot-bellied figure, and other distinctive physical features (collectively, the 'Trolls Property')."
Williams had not responded to Complex's request for comment at the time of this story's publication.
Without his official word, you can still read between the lines and discern Williams' disappointment. The sculptor shared a Change.org petition on his Facebook page Friday morning, asking NBC Universal to drop their copyright claim against his Kickstarter. The petition charges NBC Universal with "[stifling] both political speech and artistic expression" and seeks to separate Williams' political art from the Troll line's more cartoon-ish features.
Within an hour of sharing that petition, the former Disney employee also shared this photo on his Facebook page, accompanied by the caption, "[My wife] just texted me this photo and the line, 'You and me against the world babe'... She's the best!!! I'm a lucky guy!!!"
There's no way to tell whether NBC's hot-and-cold relationship with Trump had any impact on their decision to threaten legal action, or whether this was purely a monetary dispute. Williams' Kickstarter originally promised backers their money "will be used to support a much different agenda than [Trump's]", so it will be interesting to see if the media giant would be willing to back down in the event proceeds benefited a charitable cause rather than personal gain.