Sick on a Sunday

Let’s talk about Dov Charney, shall we?

Posted in Random Rants by jamiemarie on May 18, 2009

Dov Charney’s hipster-friendly, incredibly-awkward clothing company, American Apparel, recently used Woody Allen’s image in ads.  And, naturally, Allen sued.  Surprise?

What makes this illegal on AA’s part is that marketing laws are fairly strict about having celebrities endorse products: they are required to actually use the products they endorse.  I highly doubt Woody Allen frequents American Apparel.  Woody Allen: 1, American Apparel: 0.

Then you get into ambiguous “public image” law – is it okay to use his image without his permission?  Apparently this is chill, since he’s a public figure.  Woody Allen: 1, American Apparel: 1.

American Apparel came up with a few ludicrous arguments as to why they shouldn’t be sued.

1. The ads weren’t “really” ads.  They didn’t feature products, prices, slogans, etc.  

They did, however, feature the company name and trademarked logo.  Already an ad.  Additionally, they were featured on very large billboards in very public places (e.g. the Sunset Strip).  This means they purchased advertising space to put their logo and, according to Charney, some “expression” that doesn’t qualify as an ad?  I’m sure Burger King will be the first to admit that Sponge Bob Square Pants and Sir Mix-A-Lot have nothing to do with their products, but will still cop to that being a commercial.  People recognize ad space without it being published explicitly as an advertisement. Woody Allen: 2, American Apparel: 1

2. Woody Allen’s public image was already fucked when he started gettin’ jiggy with his adopted daughter.

So remember that time Woody Allen essentially dumped his wife because he was hooking with her adopted, 22-year-old daughter?  Me neither, it happened about 10 years before I was born.  Yet, it is something I’m still very familiar with (thanks E!) and I assume it’s fairly common knowledge.  Aside from that, how is that relevant?  That’s not even a legal standpoint. Woody Allen: 3, American Apparel: 1

Also, how about those sexual harassment lawsuits, Dov? pantsless-dov-charney Dov Charney is an infamous misogynist, perpetually involved in sexual harassment lawsuits – from his employees.  Woody Allen: 3, American Apparel: back to 0.

Ironically, some internal memos from his next-in-command leaked, saying that he had used Woody Allen’s image as an homage.  See, Dov Charney admires Woody Allen, and respects him, because he, too, knows what it’s like to have your career and reputation called into question because of sex scandals. 

So let me get this straight: AA’s defense is that Woody Allen is a skeeze, even though they’d used the image because Dov Charney felt that same skeeziness was what they had something in common?

The case was settled.  AA has to pay Allen $5 million.  

And did you know you can be “sorry of” something?  Dov Charney can!  Well, if he was sorry at all.  The LA Times quotes Dov Charney’s feelings on the settlement: “I’m not sorry of expressing myself.”  Although English does not appear to be his first language, he’s actually from Canada. Woody Allen: 4, Canada: 0.

In addition to the piece in the LA Times, Dov Charney has released a statement on the American Apparel website, basically saying that if it were up to him, the case would have gone to trial – to make a point, I guess.  Instead, AA’s insurance company agreed to settle for 50% of what Allen was asking.  Seems pretty indicative of how much faith they had in winning had it gone to trial (i.e. none). 

Jesus, at least one entity involved with that company has a little common sense.  Or maybe the insurance company just needed to refocus on settling sexual harassment lawsuits.  Again.  And again.

Woody Allen: $5 million, American Apparel: 0.

One Response

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  1. alinda said, on May 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    like your blog…

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