The funny thing about faces is that they belong to actual people, who may or may not want to appear in a vodka ad that suggests date rape is about to happen. Belvedere Vodka said sorry to a woman whose likeness they lifted from an online video, and then used in a controversial ad, but she’s going ahead and suing them for good measure.
KTLA.com says the woman, a vocal actress in L.A., is suing the company for negligent infliction of emotional distress, and misappropriation of likeness.
In the ad, which was posted on Belvedere’s Facebook page but has since been removed, it looks like she’s fighting off a guy, with the line: “Unlike Some People, Belvedere Always Goes Down Smoothly” over it.
She says she never gave Belvedere permission to use her likeness, and that it was stolen from an online comic video done by her production company. Because you know, it’s so tough for a vodka company to actually hire and pay for actors or models for a photo shoot.
“The repercussions have been huge,” she told KTLA in a phone interview. “It’s been a really terrible experience. The whole thing.”
Belvedere has apologized, with the president of the company writing the below post on Facebook the day after the ad appeared:
My name is Charles Gibb and I am the President of Belvedere Vodka. I would like to personally apologize for the offensive post that recently appeared on our Facebook page.
It should never have happened. I am currently investigating the matter to determine how this happened and to be sure it never does so again. The content is contrary to our values and we deeply regret this lapse.
As an expression of our regret over this matter we have made a donation to RAINN (America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. http://www.rainn.org
But the woman says Belvedere hasn’t said a word to her about it, and even an apology wouldn’t be enough at this point.
“To be affiliated with an ad that’s so offensive to so many has just been horrible,” she said. “I just want to distance myself from the ad as much as possible.”