In Mexico, Kermit the Frog is known as Rana René, so a Mexican politician named René Diaz apparently thought it would be a clever idea to use an image similar to that of the iconic green muppet in hopes of winning some votes.
Now, according to Mexican media, Walt Disney Company is looking into whether Díaz's campaign engaged in piracy and copyright infringement by plastering a very familiar-looking frog's image on shirts, billboards and campaign goodies in the local congressional elections of San Luis Potosí, a state in northern-central Mexico.
His campaign has also launched a video and catchy song to promote his candidacy:
Various Mexican media outlets reported that Disney lawyer Karl Tessmann is looking into the politician's use of the muppet's image. Díaz addressed the allegations by telling local newspaper Pulso Diario de San Luis that his frog is not Disney's Kermit because it doesn't have legs, its mouth is of a different color, and the collar around its neck is different. He added the entire issue is part of a "smear campaign" against his candidacy.
The Walt Disney Company declined to comment for the story. It is unclear whether the company will pursue any action against the candidate. Fusion is partly owned by Disney’s ABC network.
Fusion contacted the ruling party's office in San Luis Potosí and asked to speak to Díaz or a campaign spokesman, but received no response.
Tessmann did not respond to Fusion's request for comment.
Mexico's rightwing National Action Party (PAN) in San Luis Potosí seems to be using the issue as a sign that Díaz is not fit for office.
Congressman Enrique Alejandro Flores, a spokesman for the opposition party in San Luis Potosí, told Fusion that Díaz has been trying to link his name with the Disney character to pull votes.
"Beyond the improper use of the Kermit the Frog character, it is unfortunate that the ruling party's candidate is not proposing anything and just anchoring his campaign in this scandal," Flores said. "We don't want to be governed by a cartoon or a muppet. We thought the ruling party was better than this."