In 2000, magician and illusionist Uri Geller sued Nintendo, demanding that the Psychic-type Pokémon Kadabra no longer appear on collectible Pokémon cards. Geller alleged that the character was based on him, pointing out both its ability to bend spoons with its mind - which Geller claims to be his own signature trick - and its Japanese name, "Yungeller," which sounds similar to his own.
In his claim, Geller alleged that Nintendo had "turned him into an evil, occult Pokémon character," according to a story published by the BBC. He also felt that the star on Kadabra's forehead and the lightning bolt designs on its chest referenced the Jewish faith and the Nazi SS.
Although both the original California lawsuits and its many global follow-ups were ultimately dismissed, Geller's claim has resulted in Kadabra not appearing on any Pokémon cards since 2003.
Now, Geller seems to have changed his tune. He posted a public statement on his Twitter account, in which he apologized to both "kids and grownups" for his actions 20 years ago. He claimed that it was "all up to Nintendo" to bring the Kadabra card back.
I am truly sorry for what I did 20 years ago. Kids and grownups I am releasing the ban. It’s now all up to #Nintendo to bring my #kadabra #pokemon card back.
It will probably be one of the rarest cards now! Much energy and love to all!https://t.co/Rv1aJFlIKS pic.twitter.com/5zDMX5S8WA
— Uri Geller (@TheUriGeller) November 28, 2020
Response to Geller's apology has been mixed, with some Pokémon fans praising and thanking him and others claiming that the apology is not genuine, especially because Geller also used the Tweet to promote his website. Some also take offense at the fact that Geller still refers to the Pokémon as "my Kadabra" and seems excited regarding the potential rarity and financial value of Kadabra cards.
Geller also claims to have written to Nintendo, officially granting his permission for Kadabra cards to be returned to the game. According to his statements, he has not currently received a response from Nintendo.
Currently, Nintendo has worked around the issue by allowing Abra cards to skip the Kadabra stage and evolve directly to its final form, Alakazam. Additionally, several Alakazam cards have been released which can be played without needing to utilize the prior evolutions.