Why Did Vladimir Putin Want to Sue Warner Bros. After Watching Harry Potter?

Vladimir Putin was reportedly angry at the depiction of Dobby in the films, as the character closely resembled him

Why Did Vladimir Putin Want to Sue Warner Bros. After Watching Harry Potter?


  • According to reports, a group of Russian lawyers planned to sue Warner Bros. over the resemblance between Dobby and Vladimir Putin.
  • The internet widely discussed the Dobby-Putin resemblance for months before the second Harry Potter film premiered.
  • It appears that the rumors were unsubstantiated, as no lawsuit was actually filed.
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released on November 15, 2002, by Warner Bros. In January 2003, reports emerged that several Russian lawyers were planning to file a lawsuit against the producers for an insane reason. Interestingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin was allegedly unhappy with how one character was depicted in the Harry Potter movie. Putin’s issue was with the adorable Dobby.

Dobby in Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Warner Bros. allegedly made Vladimir Putin unhappy with their depiction of Dobby in Harry Potter

Reports suggested that the CGI character had an uncanny resemblance to Putin. While Putin reportedly hated the character, Dobby was one of the fan-favorite characters in the film, with his squeaking voice, bulging round eyes, floppy long ears, and a pointy nose.

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Vladimir Putin Allegedly Wanted to Sue Warner Bros.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly planned to sue Warner Bros.

When Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets debuted in theaters, one of the talking points of the film was its advanced CGI, especially that of Dobby. Fans loved the character from the books, but the fantastic design, along with Toby Jones‘ voice, made him even more adorable in the films. Unfortunately, Dobby only makes one more appearance in the franchise, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, where he’s tragically killed.

According to The Guardian, a Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, reported that a group of lawyers were planning to sue Warner Bros. over similarities between Dobby and Vladimir Putin. Discussions surrounding the resemblance were active on the internet at the time. BBC even conducted a poll on the matter via its children’s website CBBC, with 54% of the 5,500 votes cast agreeing that Dobby looked like Putin.

Radio Free Europe reached out to a spokesman from the Russian lawyer’s guild to comment on the matter. The spokesman shared that similar suits were filed earlier, too, but courts rarely ruled on them. He shared:


“Similar suits have taken place. But it’s very difficult for courts to rule on them; lots of experts have to be called in. It’s doubtful if it has a chance.”

Warner Bros. never commented on the allegations, but it undoubtedly gave the film a boost, not that Harry Potter needed it. Vladimir Putin was never involved in the allegations directly, and some doubted whether he was even aware of the comparisons until they were reported in the newspaper.

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No Lawsuit Was Filed Against Warner Bros.

Dobby in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part One
No lawsuit was filed over the Dobby-Putin controversy

According to another article in The New York Times, no lawsuit was filed, and the Russian newspaper did not reveal the identity of the lawyers or their clients. The entire story might have been a media stunt or a satire, but the article has since been removed from the Russian sites. The New York Times also reported some of the reactions from Russian fans on Harry Potter fan sites.


One Russian fan jokingly commented that the only difference between Dobby and Putin was the “ears and height” and the fact that “Dobby doesn’t have a black belt.” Some Russian fans also bashed the journalists for blowing the whole thing out of proportion. One disgruntled fan commented, “I think Putin should sue our journalists (or who’s making the public comparison?).”

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It is not the first time that such comparisons were made between movie characters and world leaders. Earlier, rumors circulated online that former president George Bush was unhappy because Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy bore resemblances to him.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1515

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.