By Tom Kludt TPM Livewire
Larry Thomas, the actor best known for portraying the Soup Nazi on “Seinfeld,” is none too pleased with t-shirts that are being peddled by Florida-based gun manufacturer Serbu.
The company, which produces the BFG-50 semi-automatic 51.5-inch sniper rifle, has refused to sell the weapon to the New York Police Department, an act of protest against the state’s strict new gun laws. The rifle is among the weapons banned under the new measures, passed by the legislature and signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in January .
As part of Serbu’s campaign, the company has released t-shirts using the image of the Soup Nazi with the caption, “No Serbu for You!” — a play off the character’s iconic line from the sitcom. But Thomas said he wants no part of the campaign, telling the New York Post that he has contacted Serbu, Facebook and the company that produces the t-shirts to issue a complaint.
“I own the rights to my image as the Soup Nazi. Serbu did not ask my permission, and Facebook won’t take the image down,” Thomas said. “Not only did they do this without my authorization, but also I am an advocate of gun control.”
Mark Serbu, founder of the eponymous company, told the Post that he’ll honor the actor’s request, and the company has removed the images of the shirts from its Facebook page.
“Larry Thomas doesn’t want his face on our shirt . . . He’s an actor, he doesn’t want to be involved with something as hot-button as guns. We are just going to shoot him. Only joking,” Serbu said. “We don’t want to get into a lawsuit; we’ll change the shirts.”
The company posted a link to the Post’s story on its Facebook page Tuesday, while seeming to suggest that Serbu didn’t really make the off-color joke.