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Netflix hacks at man’s reputation, lawsuit claims

Posted On: Apr. 17, 2023 1:01 PM CST


Netflix is getting a thumbs down for using an innocent man’s photo in a killer hitchhiker documentary.

Taylor Hazlewood alleges in his $1 million lawsuit that Netflix haphazardly took a picture from his personal Instagram page and put it in the documentary about a “hatchet-wielding hitchhiker” who was convicted of murder.

Mr. Hazlewood, a respiratory therapist in an intensive-care unit with no connection to the murderer whatsoever, says in his lawsuit that he learned that his photo — featuring him holding an ax and taken and displayed to recount his favorite childhood book “Hatchet,” by Gary Paulson – had been used when friends contacted him after watching “The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker,” according to Dallas’ ABC affiliate WFAA.

The documentary, released in January, tracked the rise and fall of Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, described by Netflix as a “happy-go-lucky nomad’s ascent to viral stardom and the steep downward spiral that resulted in his imprisonment.”

“Without any reason, other than pure recklessness, Netflix misappropriated the Hazlewood Photograph and used it in two separate parts of the Film,” alleges the complaint, filed in Dallas, and accessed by the news station. Netflix has not commented on the suit.

“Hazlewood’s reputation has clearly been tarnished,” the lawsuit said. “There are many acquaintances who will see Hazlewood’s photograph in the film and will assume the worst without contacting Hazlewood to get the truth.”