Oh, the pitfalls of celebrity … Socialite, reality TV star, businesswoman, etc. Kim Kardashian is keeping the presses printing lately, but this time thanks to a lawsuit against retailer Old Navy and its parent company, Gap Inc.
Kardashian has been upset since February when an Old Navy advertisement featuring doppelganger Melissa Molinaro aired, but waited until Wednesday to file suit against the store. The paparazzi magnet argues that the commercial violated her publicity rights given Molinaro’s likeness may have duped viewers into believing Kardashian was promoting the Old Navy brand.
According to court documents, Kardashian “has invested substantial time, energy, finances and entrepreneurial effort in developing her considerable professional and commercial achievements and success, as well as in developing her popularity, fame, and prominence in the public eye,” US Magazine reported.
Kardashian is seeking unspecified damages and to prevent Old Navy from using a look-alike in any future ad campaigns.
The Atlantic published a detailed look at what it deemed the closest precedent—a 1986 lawsuit filed by Bette Midler against Ford Motor Co. and its advertising firm, Young & Rubicam. Midler said the companies violated her publicity rights by airing automobile ads featuring a sound-alike who covered one of Midler’s songs. While the charges against Ford were eventually dismissed, a jury ruled in favor of Midler against the ad agency.
While Midler may have won against the sound-alike, it remains to be seen if Kardashian can win out against a look-alike. Although, since Molinaro is now allegedly dating Kardashian’s ex-boyfriend, NFL star Reggie Bush, a case could be made that they do, in fact, look alike.