Family of Slain Angolan Rebel Warlord Sues ‘Call of Duty’ for $1.1 Million

The real-life guerrilla leader was once called a “freedom fighter” by President Reagan.

In the first mission of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, you fight alongside Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA forces. With all the chaos and firefights going on in the game, the role of Savimbi stands out as an enigma. 

He’s on your side, but is he on the side of good, bad, or somewhere in between? Ironically, this over-the-top character is based on a real-life warrior who led rebel group Unita in their guerrilla insurgency against the government of Angola during a bloody civil war. 

Although the first mission of Black Ops II takes place in 1986, the real Jonas Savimbi fought for another 18 years before being killed in battle against government forces in 2002. 

Whether or not he was a “freedom fighter” as President Reagan famously described him, or something more sinister, is up for debate. However, his children charge that Call of Duty depicts him as a “barbarian and brute” and are seeking damages from Activision Blizzard to the tune of $1.1 million.

The case is being filed in France, known for its strict laws against defamation. French law states that a defamation case can be permitted even if the subject of the defamation is deceased if it’s viewed to effect the living relatives reputation or peace of mind. 

The counsel of Savimbi’s children, Carole Enfert, argues that Savimbi wasn’t a barbarian but a “political leader and strategist,” and the aim of the lawsuit was to have his name “rehabilitated.”

However, the suit is far from a closed case, as it’s questionable whether or not Call of Duty: Black Ops II actually made ill comment on Savimbi’s character. The case is also past the three-month statute of limitations that one has to file such a suit. 

But seeing as the game has sold millions of copies since its release in 2012, there’s a very slim chance that Savimbi’s children are going to keep anyone that wants to from seeing Activision Blizzard’s portrayal of Jonas Savimbi’s behavior.