A man is suing Netflix for more than $1 million after a photo of him appeared in a Netflix true-crime documentary while asking: “Is this a guardian angel or a stone-cold killer?”
Taylor Hazelwood says he was completely unaware of the documentary until a friend reached out to say they had seen his photo on The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker.
“They put your picture up with a murderer lol,” read a text from a former co-worker, reports The Washington Post.
Hazelwood, a 27-year-old from Kentucky, was initially confused but then saw the documentary that featured a photo of him posing with a hatchet taken more than three and a half years ago.
Hazelwood has now begun legal action against the video streaming giant accusing them of defamation and misappropriating his likeness in a Texas state court.
What is the Documentary About?
The one-and-a-half-hour film focuses on Caleb “Kai” McGillvary who went viral in 2013 for a colorful interview he gave to a local tv station where he describes stopping an assault taking place by hitting the assailant over the head with a hatchet.
“So I f****** ran up behind him with a hatchet: smash, smash, smash,” he says animatedly in the clip. He began the interview by telling all the viewers watching that they deserve love and respect.
However, Kai’s life took a dark turn just a few months later when he was arrested and accused of killing New Jersey attorney Joseph Galfy. Kai claimed self-defense but he was convicted of first-degree murder in 2019 and sentenced to 57 years in prison.
Hazelwood says he was mostly unaware of Kai until he began receiving messages like: “Wtf? Explain please.” And “Are you kidding? Did you not know you were going to be in it?”
The photo of Hazelwood playing with a hatchet came about after he was hanging out with a friend and spotted the bladed instrument which reminded him of his favorite childhood book, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Hazelwood posed with it for a photo that was later posted to Instagram.
Hazelwood has had to explain to friends and family that he has nothing to do with the documentary and he is concerned that some people are not comfortable broaching the subject with him.
“That’s going to go on for the rest of his life,” Hazlewood’s attorney, Angela Buchanan, tells The Washington Post. “He wants to hold them accountable.”
Last month, PetaPixel reported on a family suing Netflix for using images of their house that were allegedly taken by a drone in an advertisement for a reality television show.