‘Sesame Street’ Creators Sue Producers of R-Rated Melissa McCarthy Puppet Film ‘The Happytime Murders’

Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy Gregg DeGuire/WireImage; Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

Melissa McCarthy’s upcoming R-rated film, The Happytime Murders, is in hot water. Sesame Street creators are suing the production company behind the movie — which features puppets created by the Jim Henson Company — due to its adult nature, Us Weekly can confirm.

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“Sesame Workshop learned last Friday that the name Sesame Street is being used to market a graphic, adult-themed movie,” the company said in a statement to Us on Friday, May 25. “We were surprised and disappointed that Sesame Street, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder, is being exploited to market this R-rated film.”

The statement continued: “We immediately contacted the film’s distributor, STX Films, and requested that they remove our name from the film’s marketing. They declined to do so. We take no issue with the creative freedom of the filmmakers and their right to make and promote this movie, rather this is about how our name is being misused to market a film with which we have no association. We regret that our fans and families have been confused by STX’s marketing campaign.”

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According to court documents obtained by Us, the company has taken issue with The Happytime Murders‘ tagline which is “NO SESAME, ALL STREET,” and claim that the movie has “diluted and defiled Sesame’s beloved Sesame Street children’s television show.”

In the first trailer for the film, McCarthy — who plays a police detective — can be seen exchanging dialogue with a puppet who uses vulgar language and makes sexual references to her, which the 47-year-old actress responds to by punching him.

The film tells the story of the murders of the former cast of a classic puppet TV show and is set in Los Angeles, where puppets and humans coexist. McCarthy teams up with a puppet to solve the murders in the movie, which features scenes of drug use, sex and the use of foul-mouthed language.

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The movie was directed by Brian Henson — son of famous puppeteer Jim Henson who also created characters for Sesame Street and voiced Kermit the Frog — and also stars Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale and Elizabeth Banks.

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