Forever 21 is being sued by Ariana Grande. The singer claims the store hired a look-alike model for its social media campaign, and she is asking $10 million in damages.
According to the complaint filed in a federal court in California, Forever 21 contacted Grande’s representatives for an endorsement deal anticipating her new album, “thank u, next.”
The complaint states the endorsement deal was for a social media marketing campaign that spanned, Twitter posts, Instagram stories, Instagram posts, and more.
Grand asserts that the market value for her imprimatur is “well into the six figures,” for even one Instagram post. Negotiations continued but that deal “never came to fruition because the amounts that Forever 21 offered to pay for the right to use Ms. Grande’s name and likeness were insufficient for an artist of her stature.”
Grande claims in her complaint that Forever 21 “stole [her likeness] by launching a misleading campaign across its website and social media platforms primarily in January and February 2019.”
The fashion retailer, Grande asserts, capitalized on the release of her album, “Thank U, Next.” By publishing a minimum of 30 images and videos that misappropriated Grande’s name, likeness, image, and music to create the “false perception of her endorsement.”
Grande added that Forever 21 has a history of going to court over look-alikes, but not to this extent. Additionally, the model “wore the hairstyle and the hair accessory she did in the “7 Rings” video, dressed in a top worn by her in numerous well-known photographs, and stuck a pose for which Grande is known. Additionally, the ‘7 Rings’ audio is said to have played in conjunction with the post along with captions containing lyrics from that song.”
Grande is being represented by Daniel Pertrocelli at O’Melveny, who is claiming Forever 21’s activities constitute a violation of California’s right of publicity statute, false endorsement under the Lanham Act, trademark infringement and copyright infringement.
By Jeanette Smith
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Image Courtesy of lindsay neilson photos’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License