HOLLYWOOD HILLS—A man by the name of Taylor Hazelwood, 27, is suing Netflix for defamation after discovering that his image was used in ‘The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker,’ a true crime documentary that was released earlier this year on the streaming platform.

The lawsuit was filed in the state of Texas on Monday, April 10. The suit accuses Netflix of misappropriating the plaintiff’s likeness by using a photo of him holding a hatchet. Hazelwood has no relation to the documentary or the case it explores. He is seeking at least $1 million in damages. 

In the suit, the following statement can be found: “Hazlewood is, of course, beyond angry that Netflix would implicate and connect him to such a salacious and infamous story and individual.”

Hazlewood hopes to vindicate himself to those who have asked him about his inclusion in the documentary and those who may recognize his image, but have not felt comfortable enough to inquire about it. His attorney Angela Buchanan told The Post Monday, April 17, that this exposure will go on for the rest of his life.

He is also suing Netflix over the documentary, claiming that the company is “ruthlessly exploiting a hero’s life story for money,” according to the Fresno Bee. 

Hazelwood is a 27 year-old respiratory therapist from Kentucky. In June 2019, he posted an image of himself holding a hatchet. According to The Post, Hazelwood posted the image connecting it to his favorite childhood story “Hatchet” written by Gary Paulsen. The photo went unnoticed for some time until it appeared in the Netflix documentary. 

In the documentary, the narrator describes a “stone-cold killer” as Hazelwood’s image appears on the screen. A text appears that reads, “you can’t trust anyone” next to the plaintiff’s image. 

“The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker” explores the case of Caleb Lawrence McGillvary who became famous by appearing in a viral video. In the video, he recounted a crime he witnessed while hitchhiking. As a result of the viral nature of the original video, McGillvary received extensive offers from various news and entertainment sources seeking interviews and appearances. This resulted in him appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on February 11, 2013. By 2019, he was found guilty of the murder of Joseph Galfy and is currently serving 57 years in prison.

In response to the newly released documentary, McGillvary claimed that Netflix exploited him for profit.