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The lawsuit claims that Forever 21 reached out to the singer around December 2018 for help with social media marketing. But Grande declined because the amount the company wanted to pay was too low. When the negotiations fell through, the lawsuit alleges that Forever 21 decided to work around Grande while still using her likeness.
“Rather than pay for that right as the law requires, [Forever 21] simply stole it by launching a misleading campaign across its website and social media platforms,” according to the lawsuit.
BREAKING: Ariana Grande sues Forever 21 for $10M for look-alike ad campaign. “The resemblance is uncanny and Forever 21’s intent was clear: to suggest to the viewing public that Ms. Grande endorsed Forever 21, its products, and was affiliated with Forever 21.” @wbz pic.twitter.com/5x9jtVHrm7— Anaridis Rodriguez (@Anaridis) September 3, 2019
The lawsuit claims that Forever 21 used her image and brand several times during January and February of 2019, which was when Grande was getting a lot of publicity for her album, Thank U, Next. Grande’s brand is extremely influential–she is the most-followed woman in the world on Instagram. Because of this, Grande is suing the company for $10 million.
“Paying influential celebrities with large social media followings such as Ms. Grande is the modern-day equivalent of buying television ads 20 years ago,” according to the lawsuit.
Forever 21 posted photos of Grande on social media, which misled customers to believe she was promoting its clothes, according to the lawsuit. In addition, the company allegedly hired and dressed a model to look exactly like the pop singer, sometimes including Grande’s songs in the background of the posts of the model.
Grande’s lawyers contacted Forever 21 in late February to demand that the company remove the posts from its accounts. Despite an agreement to do so, the pictures stayed on Forever 21’s Instagram until at least April, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit comes after the recent news that Forever 21 might file for bankruptcy.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Forever 21 for comment.
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H/T BuzzFeed News
Sierra Juarez is a freelance journalist and fact-checker based in Mexico. She most enjoys writing about human rights and politics and working in audience engagement. Her work has appeared in the Texas Tribune, the Austin American–Statesman, and the San Antonio Current.