Netflix Used a Man's Photo in Movie. He's Not Happy About It

Taylor Hazlewood says streaming platform stole his photo from Instagram, insinuated he was a killer
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2023 9:35 AM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2023 12:00 PM CDT
Suit: Netflix Insinuated I Was a 'Stone-Cold Killer'
The Netflix logo is seen on an iPhone in Philadelphia on July 17, 2017.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, a documentary on Netflix, debuted earlier this year, detailing the rise and fall of Caleb McGillvary, a Canadian who once went viral after helping an assault victim, then was later convicted of murder in an unrelated case. But it was the photo of a completely different man, ICU respiratory therapist Taylor Hazlewood of Kentucky, that's now spurred a lawsuit, with Hazlewood claiming the streaming service lifted his picture without permission from his Instagram page and "tarnished" his reputation by using it in the film. Per Hazlewood's complaint filed in Dallas County, Texas, Netflix used the photo in question—one of him posing with a hatchet, which he says is a shoutout to his favorite book when he was a kid, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen—twice in the movie, per the Dallas Morning News.

One of those times included toward the end of the documentary, when a narrator's voice can be heard asking: "Is this a guardian angel or a stone-cold killer?" Hazlewood says friends started contacting him soon after the film aired. "Bro wtf, are you in that?" one wrote to him, per WFAA. "They put your picture up with a murderer lol," another noted. "They even blur some peoples faces in the doc too, wonder why they wouldnt [sic] do yours." Another person put it more bluntly, per the Washington Post: "Did they steal your photo? How did you get on there?"

Hazlewood wants to know the same, especially since he has no ties to McGillvary, per his complaint filed April 10. The 27-year-old is "beyond angry that Netflix would implicate and connect him to such a salacious and infamous story and individual," his suit notes. The complaint adds that Hazlewood now is plagued by "a constant fear of losing future employment or relationships because of people believing he is dangerous or untrustworthy." He's seeking more than $1 million in damages. Meanwhile, McGillvary, who was convicted in 2019 of first-degree murder and sentenced to nearly six decades behind bars, has also sued Netflix, claiming the documentary about himself "ruthlessly [exploited] a hero's life story for money." Much more here on that odd case. (More Netflix stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.