Last year, Woody Allen filed a $10 million lawsuit against American Apparel for using a photo of him dressed as a Hasidic Jew from his rom-com “Annie Hall” without his permission. The image was put on billboards in Hollywood and New York, but according to the company, they were only up for one week. Allen says the ad falsely implied that he endorsed or sponsored American Apparel. The clothier apologized for using Allen’s image and offending his sensibilities. (American Apparel is known for featuring scantily clad female employees in its ads).But now the company has gone on the defensive, arguing that it could not have damaged Allen’s reputation with the ad because the film director had already ruined it himself. American Apparel plans to make Allen’s relationships with Mia Farrow and her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn the focus of the trial, which is scheduled to begin in a federal court in Manhattan on May 18. Lawyers for the clothing company insist Allen’s endorsement isn’t worth millions of dollars; his reputation is too tarnished. However, Allen has fired back, insisting that American Apparel is engaging in a “despicable effort to intimidate” him by bringing up details of his relationship and marriage to Previn. Lawyers for American Apparel have complained about not receiving the documents tgat they need for trial from Allen. They’ve requested documents concerning endorsement request withdrawals after Allen’s relationship with Previn went public. Slotnick, American Apparel’s lawyer, hinted that the company could be interested in avoiding a trial. Smells like a settlement.
In an interesting turn of events, American Apparel released an internal memo stating the billboards with Allen’s image weren’t an ad but meant to compare AA founder Dov Charney and Woody Allen.
What do you think? Was Allen’s reputation already damaged before American Apparel used his image in its ads?