Netflix is being sued by a 27-year-old Kentucky man who was photographed holding a machete for a true crime documentary.
Taylor Hazlewood wants at least $1m in damages from the streaming giant after they featured one of his Instagram pictures on The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, The Washington Post reports. Hazlewood is suing Netflix for defamation and misappropriating his likeness. He submitted the lawsuit to a Texas court on April 10th. The suit states that Mr Hazlewood, a respiratory therapist in an intensive care unit, is not connected to the murder case.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, an 85-minute true crime documentary about a nomadic backpacker called Caleb ‘Kai’ McGillvary, was released on January 10th. In 2013, Mr McGillvary told a California TV station that he’d been forced to hack a man to death using an axe from his backpack after the driver crashed into a utility worker and assaulted a woman.
Hazelwood’s lawsuit claims that he began receiving messages from friends and family shortly after the doc arrived on Netflix. “What is happening here?” a friend asked. “So something not so chill happens later in the documentary. Youre [sic] picture shows up again after hes [sic] charged with murder and its just bad vibes.” Another friend asked, “Bro wtf, are you in that?”
Mr Hazelwood’s lawsuit states: “Hazlewood is, of course, beyond angry that Netflix would implicate and connect him to such a salacious and infamous story and individual.” It continues: “Hazlewood’s reputation has clearly been tarnished. There are many acquaintances who will see Hazelwood’s photograph in the Film and will assume the worst without contacting Hazelwood to get the truth.”