HBO responds to Trump's 'Game of Thrones' tweet: We 'would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes'

  • HBO isn't happy that President Donald Trump used "Game of Thrones" imagery and language to promote sanctions against Iran.
  • "We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes," HBO said in response to a tweet from Trump earlier Friday.
  • The White House's official Twitter account appeared to clarify in a follow-up shortly after that the image referred to sanctions on Iran.

HBO isn't happy that President Donald Trump used "Game of Thrones" imagery and language to promote sanctions against Iran.

An image of Trump posted Friday featured a text overlay reading "Sanctions are coming." The font of the text is a near-match of the style used in HBO's mega-popular fantasy television series. The text itself appears to imitate "Winter is coming," one of the show's most popular slogans.

In a statement to CNBC, HBO said, "We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes."

HBO's official Twitter account followed up soon after, asking, "How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?" referring to a fictional language used by one of the groups in the show.

Asked if HBO planned to take legal action, network spokesman Jeff Cusson told CNBC there were "no further steps."

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on HBO's statement.

It was not immediately clear from Trump's tweet which sanctions he was referring to. But the White House's official Twitter account appeared to clarify in a follow-up shortly after Trump's tweet that the image was intended to reference sanctions on Iran.

Trump's tweet also noted that the sanctions were "coming" on Monday, Nov. 5, when the administration says it will reimpose all U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been relaxed under the 2015 nuclear deal brokered during the Obama administration.

This isn't the first time Trump has run afoul of HBO's parent company, Time Warner. The president has repeatedly hammered news network CNN, and his Justice Department opposed AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, which was cleared by a federal judge in June.

Some stars of "Game of Thrones," which is set to air its eighth and final season in 2019, responded to Trump's allegedly unauthorized use of the show's likeness.

Maisie Williams, who portrays Arya Stark on the show, responded, "Not today."

Sophie Turner, who plays Arya's sister Sansa, was even more succinct: "Ew," she said.

While HBO objected to Trump's photo, the show's themes and catchphrases have often shown up in politics.

Business Insider reported that Trump's 2016 rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, compared herself to another character, Cersei Lannister, in her memoir, "What Happened."

"Crowds at Trump rallies called for my imprisonment more times than I can count," Clinton reportedly wrote. "They shouted 'Guilty! Guilty!' like the religious zealots in 'Game of Thrones' chanting 'Shame! Shame!' while Cersei Lannister walked back to the Red Keep."

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