- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2003

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The company that makes the Monopoly board game has sued the man who created “Ghettopoly” — a knockoff featuring “playas” who build crack houses on Cheap Trick Avenue instead of hotels on Boardwalk.

The lawsuit by Hasbro Inc. seeks unspecified damages from David Chang, accusing him of violating Hasbro’s trademarks and copyrights and creating “irreparable injury” to Hasbro’s reputation.

The company also wants the court to order Mr. Chang to stop producing and selling Ghettopoly.

“While the genuine Monopoly game has become a wholesome and respected American icon … the Ghettopoly knockoff has generated a firestorm of controversy for its highly offensive, racist content,” said the filing Tuesday in a Providence federal court.

“I just can’t believe they are doing that,” Mr. Chang, 28, said, adding that he intends to fight the lawsuit.

Ghettopoly mimics Monopoly, except game pieces include a gun and marijuana leaf. In place of the “Mr. Monopoly” logo of a man with his arms outstretched, Ghettopoly uses a caricature of a black man holding a submachine gun and bottle of malt liquor.

The game drew outrage from minority leaders this month after it began selling at Urban Outfitters stores. The retail chain stopped its sales of the game, and Yahoo and EBay notified Mr. Chang that they would halt online sales.

“Images do count, and it’s disgusting,” J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told Agence France Presse. “He’s bastardized a family-oriented board game and used the worst stereotypes that have become associated with African Americans.”

Mr. Chang, who is Asian, said he got the idea for the game while watching “MTV Cribs,” a television show that often features the homes of rap artists.

“I came up with something that has an urban edge,” he said. “I didn’t make the game to offend anybody.”

On his Web site, Mr. Chang defends that game as a “fun and real life” method to “bring people together in laughter.”

“If we can’t laugh at ourselves and how we each utilize the various stereotypes, then we’ll continue to live in blame and bitterness,” he wrote.

Mr. Chang said that he did not know how much money he has made off of Ghettopoly so far.

Hasbro, based in Pawtucket, is the parent company of Parker Brothers, which began producing Monopoly in 1935.

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