Billboard is reporting that Ariana Grande has filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 and claims at least $10 million in damages after the fashion retailer allegedly hired a look-alike model for a social media campaign.
Per the outlet, the complaint was filed in California federal court, and notes that Forever 21 had contacted Grande’s representatives in anticipation of her latest album — thank u, next — for the purpose of an endorsement deal.
“Notably, the endorsement deal Forever 21 sought with Ms. Grande centered around social media marketing, including, but not limited to, Twitter posts, Instagram posts, and Instagram stories,” states the complaint.
Grande, who asserts that the market value for her imprimatur, even a single Instagram post, is “well into the six figures,” says negotiations commenced 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.”
“Rather than pay for that right as the law requires, Defendants simply stole it by launching a misleading campaign across its website and social media platforms primarily in January and February 2019,” continues the complaint. “The campaign capitalized on the concurrent success of Ms. Grande’s album Thank U, Next by publishing at least 30 unauthorized images and videos misappropriating Ms. Grande’s name, image, likeness, and music in order to create the false perception of her endorsement.”
Grande adds that Forever 21 didn’t just take a model with a similar look and hairstyle. Instead, she asserts, the “strikingly similar” model wore the hairstyle and hair accessory she did in the 7 Rings video, dressed in a top worn by her in numerous well-known photographs, and struck 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.
Here’s the full complaint from Grande.