News Article

Kevin Butler Actor Agrees Not to Promote Games for Two Years

Posted by Sammy Barker

It only does settlements

Remember the hullabaloo surrounding Kevin Butler late last year? It emerged that Sony was suing the character’s actor Jerry Lambert after he appeared in a Bridgestone commercial playing on a Nintendo Wii. At the time, the platform holder claimed that the advertisement caused “confusion in the market and [...] damage to Sony”. So, off the manufacturer trotted to court.

Sony’s argument was that Lambert was in breach of his contract. According to the deal between the two parties, the performer was forbidden from working with any of the platform holder’s competitors, including Nintendo. The agreement expired in August 2012, just three days prior to the actor appearing in the aforementioned Bridgestone commercial parading the Wii.

Lambert has since admitted that the advertisement may have caused confusion amongst consumers, and has agreed not to appear in any promotion that mentions “any other video game or computer entertainment system or video game company" for a period of two years. Once that time has elapsed, he must provide Sony with prior notice of any video game commercials that he may wish to work on, so that the company "can assess whether or not Lambert's intended performance violates [its] rights in the Kevin Butler character". That seems a bit excessive to us.

Meanwhile, the platform holder is still battling it out with Bridgestone, which claims no wrong doing. In a statement issued in early October, the tyre manufacturer noted: "Bridgestone denies that Kevin Butler appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial."

Ooh, snarky.


User Comments (8)



XCWarrior said:

Didn't realize slavery was alive and well in the United States. Kevin Butler, and actor, should be allowed to provide himself with money for food and a living however he wants. Sad that he just gave in to Sony without a full trial.



testman said:

Yep, this is actually more common than you think.

I recall someone was hired to be the new voice of KITT in the recent series "Knight Rider". He even recorded KITT voiceovers for ads and the 2-hour pilot. Unfortunately, General Motors weren't impressed and forced him to "step down", leaving Val Kilmer to step in to rerecord everything with less than two weeks left till it aired.

The problem? The original guy was a well-known voiceover artist for GM's ads - the pilot (and ultimately the series) was backed by Ford, with a ton of Ford product placement, including the star car itself being a Ford.



get2sammyb said:

@XCWarrior To be fair, he will have signed the original contract with Sony, so he shouldn't have appeared in the ad in the first place. I'm sure the Kevin Butler deal was fairly lucrative.



testman said:

@get2sammyb Exactly. If the terms of the contract impeded him from making a living, he is still well within his right to take it to court. However, considering he benefited from a very lucrative contract as a result of signing it, as well as the fact that he can still make a living (he's not stopped from using his talent, which is acting), he wouldn't have won at all.

At the end of the day, if he didn't agree with the terms, he didn't have to sign it. He clearly did agree, as he signed it then he's subsequently fully agreed with Sony's assessment that his new role was in conflict.



Jaz007 said:

How is not working on video game commercials slavery or preventing him from earning a living? Sony having someone who did countless playstation ads not promote Nintendo or X-box escially since they are in direct competition with them or another video game maker without coming across as Kevin Butler which is kind of hard and not at all for a period of time after working with Sony seems perfectly reasonable to me. He also should be able to find work non video game work without him or his family starving.



3Above said:

Seems to me he shoukd have pushed to extend his contract with Sony instead of going elsewhere. The Kevin Butler character could always make a resurgance or be used in another avenue. Like for the Vita....



Kayoss said:

Breach of contract is a very big thing. If a company you work for finds out that you are in talk with another company they will escort you off their properties and seize your computer or anything they believe that can jeopardize the well being of their company. Since Lambert had a contract with Sony, he can not be working for a competitor. If he was to stated who he was other than "Kevin butler" in the commercial than he might have a better chance of fighting the case. But we dont know what was stated in his contract.. but im assuming it probably clearly said that he can not be working with other Sony's competitors.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Breach of contract is one thing but they way they're handling it is rather excessive and possibly a bit controlling. Most people are used to seeing actors take different roles and the "Kevin Butler" commercials should be old enough by then to not cause confusion.

Hopefully Lambert takes the time to make sure future roles are properly defined, otherwise Sony could potentially say any future role is "Kevin Butler" based on appearances alone.

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