Taylor Hazlewood, a 27-year-old respiratory therapist from Kentucky, is suing Netflix for putting a photo of him holding a hatchet in their true-crime documentary The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker that he says he never gave it permission to use.
According to The Washington Post, Hazlewood had no idea his photo was in the documentary until friends began texting him with frantic questions.
“Dude this is so weird but im watching this murder documentary and they start flashing a bunch of peoples pictures and I said that is Hazlewood. Did they steal your photo? How did you get on there?” asked one of Hazlewood’s friends.
Another friend remarked, “They put your picture up with a murderer lol.”
How Much Is Taylor Hazlewood Suing Netflix For?
Hazlewood says he isn’t associated with McGillvary in the slightest and doesn’t want people to assume that he is because he’s shown in the documentary.
The Kentucky man is seeking $1 million in damages from Netflix. He filed the lawsuit on April 10 in Texas state court, The Post notes.
“Hazlewood is, of course, beyond angry that Netflix would implicate and connect him to such a salacious and infamous story and individual,” the lawsuit states, according to the Post, which adds that the photo of Hazlewood that was used in the documentary was on his Instagram account. Hazlewood is a fan of Gary Paulson’s well-known book Hatchet and had posted a picture of himself holding a hatchet in honor of the book.
Hazlewood doesn’t know how the photo ended up in the documentary, and he’s concerned that people who watch the documentary will associate him with McGillvary.
The Post also notes that, according to the suit, a narrator talks about a “stone-cold killer” as Hazlewood’s image is shown, and text appears alongside the photo saying, “You can never trust anyone.”
“That’s going to go on for the rest of his life,” Hazlewood’s attorney Angela Buchanan told The Post.
MovieMaker has reached out to Netflix for comment.
What Is The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker About?
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, directed by Colette Camden, began streaming on Netflix in January 2023. It follows the story of Caleb “Kai” McGillvary, who rose to viral internet fame in 2013 when he was interviewed on the local news at the scene of a woman’s assault. McGillvary was lauded as a hero for hitting Jett McBride, the man accused of assaulting the woman, with a hatchet that he had been carrying.
However, just three months after rising to fame and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel, Kai McGillvary lost it all when he was accused of murder of a New Jersey attorney, Joseph Galfy. McGillvary says he went home with Galfy after meeting him in Times Square, but woke up the next day believing he’d been sexually assaulted.
The next night, finding himself with nowhere to stay, he returned to Galfy’s home — where he says he was assaulted again. It was then that he repeatedly struck Galfy, causing his death.
Prosecutors questioned the sexual assault claim, wondering why Kai would return to Galfy’s home after being assaulted there the night before. McGillvary was convicted of the crime and is currently serving a 57-year prison sentence for the murder.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is now streaming on Netflix.
Main Image: Caleb “Kai” McGillvary in prison pictured in The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker courtesy of Netflix