Belvedere Vodka: Why Use Paid Actors For Controversial Ad? Just Steal A Picture Of A Woman!

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. 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.

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.”

Woman Sues Vodka Company for Using LIkeness in ‘Rape’ Ad []


Edit Your Comment

  1. codymc says:

    Why do people, and more so “professionals” think that they can just take whatever they find on the internet and use it for whatever they want without paying? She should definitely sue.

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      That’s funny, because that’s the same mentality that pirates have :P

    • Sneeje says:

      You do realize the rights that she is claiming don’t actually exist right? You don’t actually own a copyright on your own likeness and if you have been filmed or photographed, unless you made sure to make sure you retained the copyrights or rights to exclude others from using those works, you wouldn’t have control over those either. In America, the artist/photographer is the one with the default copyrights.

      Misappropriation of likeness is a highly unsettled area of law (there is no law that specifically addresses it) and mostly made up by people who wish they could control the media.

      • tungstencoil says:

        She doesn’t own her likeness, but she does own the copyright to the image she lifted (if you RTFA, it’s her production company). Also, in order to commercialize something, a photographer has to get a release or demonstrate that said image/likeness was in a generally public place and that any subjects caught in the image aren’t the primary focus.

        In other words, I can’t run up to Famous Person (or an un-famous person), snap a photo, and use it in my ad with the tag line “Famous Person Loves the Acme Widget”.

      • GoldVRod says:

        Why do people like yourself spout utter rubbish as fact? I hope you’re not a copyright lawyer – I weep for your clients if you are.

        “You don’t actually own a copyright on your own likeness”


        ” and if you have been filmed or photographed, unless you made sure to make sure you retained the copyrights or rights to exclude others from using those works, you wouldn’t have control over those either”

        Wrong and this is the complete opposite of what is actually true. If you’d taken a cursory amount of time to research your post’s content before posting it you would realise that.

        “In America, the artist/photographer is the one with the default copyrights.”

        She is the artist. She is the photographer (or in this case videographer). So in fact your entire post is not only wrong but contradictory.

        Copyright exists the moment the work is created. That’s it. You don’t need to ‘copyright’ anything or file with anyone to protect the work. Doing so merely makes it easier to prove in court at a later date as to the time of creation and ownership – but it’s not necessary in any shape or form.

        Here – more homework for you.

        • Sneeje says:

          And I love when someone else comes in acting like an expert, but really only barely knowing their ass from a hole in the ground.

          Publicity rights don’t work the way you think, and if you enter into a work-for-hire or do not otherwise retain the rights to the fixed medium, your publicity rights may or may not be exercisable. You cannot control all uses of your likeness and, you may or may not be able to prevent a use of your likeness in a commercial setting depending on the rights you have (or don’t have) in the associated fixed medium.

        • Sneeje says:

          BTW, dummy, by your own link, copyright and publicity rights are two different things. But don’t let that get in the way of acting like an expert. And a douche-nozzle.

      • MurderGirl says:
      • Selunesmom says:

        If she’s a member of either of the actors’ guilds – SAG or Equity – her appearance can’t be used for profit without permission.

        It’s also generally considered wise to pay anyone whose image you use in an add – otherwise, why hire anyone for a photo shot, when it’s cheaper to wander around snapping pictures of random strangers to use without their consent.

        • Sneeje says:

          Those guilds have nothing to do with it. Publicity rights may or may not be exercised depending on many factors, none of which are affected by whether or not you are in those guilds. Consider this, if the guilds were to fold, those rights would continue to exist.

      • blueman says:

        You do realize just how wrong you are, don’t you???

      • DFManno says:

        California recognizes a right of publicity. Look it up.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Didn’t Consumerist do that for a while?

      • kingofmars says:

        Yes, they were using photos from a phot sharing site(Flickr I think) without giving credit. This was a violation of the photo sharing site’s terms of use. At first consumerist claimed that it would be too difficult to play by the rules. Then consumerist realized they were in the wrong and apologized.

  2. Leksi Wit says:

    Yeah, Belvedere should have to pay her for using her likeness in a marketing campaign. As far as “emotional damage” /rolls eyes — yeah right. The bitch just wants some sugar on her sundae. This may actually prove lucky for the struggling actress as the publicity may bring her work.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      2nd post blame the OP winner!!!
      Do you know her personally, or are you making a wild-assed assumption?

      • Leksi Wit says:

        If she wants to distance herself from the so-called offensive ads, suing is one of the dumbest ways to do it. I’m going on a limb her and giving her credit for not being a total moron;Therefore, the lawsuit is obviously a publicity stunt/money-grab. And by nature, struggling actresses love the publicity as it is a huge career boost. Through the aforementioned extrapolation I do not need to “personally know” her to come to an educated conclusion about her motives. Bitch is smart.

        • MMD says:

          You pretty clearly don’t understand how people use the phrase “distancing themselves”. It’s not just about staying out of a situation. Some politicians “distanced themselves” from Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comments not by ignoring them but by making comments critical of Rush Limbaugh’s statements.

          She’s distancing herself by not only making it clear she does not approve of the ad, but seeking legal justice for her *stolen intellectual property*. Something even you admit she should be compensated for. So what’s the problem here?

        • some.nerd says:

          The way you keep using the word “bitch” makes me think you’re not actually a woman, but rather a gay man (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Git’r done?

    • Bativac says:

      I like how you refer to her as “the bitch!” Well done!

    • impatientgirl says:

      It would be emotionally damaging to a woman to be used like that especially in an ad like that.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      Whoa whats with the vitriol? Did she p*ss in your corn flakes, or do you always react this strongly to lawsuits?

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      I wonder if this woman suffers from alcoholism or has family members who do. I could definitely see her reacting this way if that were the case.

    • maxamus2 says:

      Wow, just wow, you actually post how this may help this girls career. Wow.

      You must also blame women that get raped on the way they dress?

      • Leksi Wit says:

        “Wow”, absolutely not. Nice jumping to conclusions there, buddy.

        • MMD says:

          Are you at all aware of how you come across?
          (Hint: Trollish)

          • Leksi Wit says:

            Yeah, I’ve gotten everyone’s panties in a bunch this morning. I guess that’s what we Bitches do well.

            • Kate says:

              Correction – that’s what trolls do.

              Surprise – you are a troll.

              • JennQPublic says:

                As much as I disagree with Leksi’s original point, calling someone a troll just because they hold a controversial opinion you disagree with is childish. It also implies you are incapable of arguing against the point you disagree with when you have to resort to name-calling.

    • little stripes says:

      “This bitch”.

      Well, at least you identified yourself as a misogynistic asshole from the very beginning. And, yep, before you say it: I think you’re a woman, and you’re still a misogynistic asshole.

      • Leksi Wit says:

        I am a woman and I self-identify as a bitch myself. Bitches are women who are willing to do what it takes to get ahead. I call it like I see it. Bitches rule, but enough about us ;)

        • VintageLydia says:

          Given the context of your original comment (disapproval) your use of “bitch” in no way seemed empowering but used in derision. You can say you were misunderstood, but it appears you were misunderstood by everyone. Either you need to reword your original comment or own up to the fact your goal was to insult, not to empower, with that word.

        • pop top says:

          Women who are willing to do what it takes to get ahead are called “women”. Shocking, I know.

          You can self-identify as a bitch all you like, but don’t drag the rest of us down with your “SELF EMPOWERMENT RIOT GRRL” schtick from 1996.

          • Leksi Wit says:

            You know, I was mostly trying to be humorous, but let’s not take away from the hypocrisy of this WOMAN’s plight. She wants to distance herself from these ads but she’s suing? She could have private contacted the company with an attorney and had compensation as well as the removal of her likeness. She has purposefully taken this to an open and very public forum. It is clear that this is due to motivations of money (greed) and publicity (attention). I’m sorry I made my post so charged because ironically now, everyone feels sorry for her and mad at me :p

            • MMD says:

              But she *is* distancing herself by making it clear that she does not condone the ad and that she was not consulted before Belvedere stole intellectual property. And financial damages are the only thing that a company with judgment this poor will ever understand.

            • VintageLydia says:

              So the guy who sued AT&T for capping his data speeds was just in it for greed and attention? Or is she only in it for greed and attention because she said she wants to distance herself? Why are some lawsuits only for greed and attention when others are not when objectively they may have legitimate complaints and precedence on their side?

            • Kate says:

              Um, the shot implied that she and her company gave them the rights and approved of that ad.

              But don’t let the obvious marketing disaster get in the way of your bitch of the day.

            • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

              ” It is clear that this is due to motivations of money (greed) and publicity (attention).”

              Be careful not to project your own motivations upon other’s. Where you might only bring a legal case for money and publicity, other people may be trying to use the civil court forum to right a wrong or to seek reparations.

              Your suspicions are not fact. Arguing like they are only makes your case more indefensible.

              • Silverhawk says:

                Leksi Wit has a point. If the woman bringing the suit is sincere about her emotional distress, then the Streisand Effect clearly applies.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Bravo, squinto, and well said.

            Bitches are bitches, and women are women. They only become the same thing based on the individual. Leksi Wit has identified her self as a bitch. I applaud the honesty, and I think we can all agree with her assertion.

        • Theoncomingstorm says:

          Wow, I didn’t know the definition of “bitch” had changed so radically. To me the word bitch is synonymous with whore, slut, trollop, “a woman who lies with men as eagerly as a bitch in heat”. A woman “who does what it takes to get ahead” has the same label as man with the same attitude, unscrupulous and dishonourable.

        • vaguely says:

          I am going to blow your mind: you can be a misogynist even if you’re a woman! And you are both: a misogynist woman. In short, you’re a terrible, terrible person, and it is adorable that you think by “self-identifying as a bitch” you’ve somehow become a better person, better than women who rightfully are horrified that people find rape humorous.

    • MajorGroove says:

      Dude. I’d be bothered if my picture were used in an ad making fun of rape. People seeing her picture in the ad probably think she did it voluntarily, and many probably don’t think kindly of her for it. I’d say that souring someone’s interpersonal relationships qualifies as “emotional damage.”

    • DFManno says:

      Didn’t take long for someone to blame the victim.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    “I just want to distance myself from the ad as much as possible.”

    bull crap. You don’t distance yourself by suing. I bet this is liking hitting the lottery for her and she’s hoping to get big out of it.

    • Sarahlara says:

      Sure you don’t distance yourself by testifying in court to any crime, but sometimes you have to go through the experience to make the other guy pay for his wrongdoing and prevent another from doing it in the future. I would sue here too.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        I would sue too. And she deserve to get paid for what happen to her. But I think that part of her statement is BS just to try to get more money.

      • Coleoptera Girl says:

        Also, I could see suing as a way of distancing oneself from the ad itself, but making it very clear that you 100% disapprove of the ad’s content and are seeking to make the company pay (literally in this case) for their bad decisions.

    • MMD says:

      Financial damages are probably the only thing that will dissuade a company with judgment this poor to think twice about their practices.

      This is no different from musicians sending cease and desist letters or filing lawsuits against politicians who use songs on the campaign trail without permission. Use of a song implies an endorsement by the artist. Likewise, use of this woman’s photo implies her approval of a violent ad. By suing, she really is distancing herself, by making it clear that she does not, in fact, approve.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      That’s exactly my sentiment. I read that and laughed. All these rubes who feel sorry for her too–it’s actually working in her favor.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      She’s trying to officially distance herself by showing a legal separation from them. If she didn’t do this, everyone would assume she was a willing participant.

    • zippy says:

      Uh, I think suing is an excellent way of doing that. She doesn’t want people thinking that she condoned the ad by posing for it, so to distance herself from that association, suing in a very public manner works quite well.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    My law professor once explained what “shock to the nervous system” is:

    He stood straight and just shook his whole body for a second; this is what people sue for.

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      Your law professor is also a Doctor of Medicine, and is trained and experienced in the diagnosis of illnesses!?! What an accomplished individual!

      • mbbbus says:

        No. His professor is smart. “Shock to the nervous system” is a legal term. It has no medical meaning.


        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          I defer to the Wikipedia: ‘Although the term “nervous shock” has been described as “inaccurate” and “misleading”,[1] it continues to be applied as a useful abbreviation for a complex concept.’ and “To amount in law to “nervous shock”, the psychiatric damage suffered by the claimant must extend beyond grief or emotional distress to a recognized mental illness, such as anxiety neurosis or reactive depression.”

          Sounds like it’s a legal catch-all for a large number of serious mental illnesses that are real and tremendously painful/destructive to the sufferers. I think the Law Professor was an ass for belittling these illnesses and their claim for damages.

  5. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …I still can’t get how a major company like that thinks it’s a good idea to put out a “SURPRIZE BUTTSECKS!!!” ad.

    Sure…enough vodka might lead to buttsecks…but seriously.

  6. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    This just gets better and better. If I didn’t already have my vodka preferences, I might give this brand a shot.

    (BTW, Kettle One when out, but Russian Standard if I have a choice.)

  7. Hi_Hello says:

    can someone explain what likeness means?

    Is it her in the ad or not?

    Is it like Tina Fay dressing up like Sarah Palin? IS that what they mean by likeness?

    I”m confused… from what I understand.. she did this scene from something.. Belvedere took it and used it for something else… so she is the person in the picture, right? So why likeness?

    • RandomLetters says:

      It’s a legal definition of your image captured in some way.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Likeness, meaning any form of media that looks, sounds, or behaves like the person in question. Photographs, video, and audio recordings of a person are said to ‘bear the person’s likeness’.

    • SerenityDan says:

      Likeness in a professional sense means your image.

    • Vox Republica says:

      In cases such as these, “likeness” would constitute (photo)graphic representation of a person. They physically did not use her in the advertisement, as Aristotelian laws of identity would prevent such a thing.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      Likeness would be legalese which typically means a clearly recognizable image (photo or illustration) of a person or persons.
      For example, sports video games typically use images and avatars of popular or current players. These players must then be compensated for the use of their likeness if it is easily recognizable.

      • El_Fez says:

        That’s why they had to use new character designs for The Real Ghostbusters – they couldnt get (or couldnt afford) Murray, Ramis, Akroid and Hudson’s likeness rights.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      thanks for the replies.

      So it is her in the picture. I wonder what’s the original picture was about.

      • SerenityDan says:

        It’s from a comedy video she says she made with her production company. At this point did you RTFA?

        • Hi_Hello says:

          without seeing the video, it doesn’t really tell you.
          I’m trying to see how this can be comedy in one context, and suddenly rape in another context.

          • little stripes says:

            Why is this even relevant to the issue in question?

            I think someone posted the video downthread.

          • Conformist138 says:

            It’s really not that hard to find. One of the first results when you good the name of her production company:

            It’s not particularly good, to be honest, but the man is not trying to rape the woman in the context of the video. It’s just about a crazy mom forcing her grown daughter and a friend to recreate one of their baby pictures. Zaniness all around.

            It’s kinda funny that the image in the ad is actually a “photo” taken in the skit (2:38 in the video).

    • little stripes says:

      ALL of your questions were answered in the article. All of them. RTFA. Don’t make us do it for you, for fuck’s sake.

  8. dush says:

    Oh come on lady, he wrote a facebook post and everything!

  9. mister_roboto says:

    I’m more of a Gin sort of fellow.

  10. VintageLydia says:

    I love how everyone is pissed at this lady for wanting to be compensated for an image being stolen and used in a disgusting advertisement. As if any of you would be less upset and biting at the bot to sue? What would be the appropriate response? Bowing her head and let people steal her work for nothing? Would you feel any different if she was mad they stole her image to sell something WITHOUT implying rape or sexual assault within the advert?

    • little stripes says:

      Consumerist is full of misogynistic idiots?! Well, color me surprised!

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        Hey I take offense to that! I’m not misogynistic! I’m an equal opportunity idiot!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Voice of Reason Award.

      There’s a particular red-lipped person here who really doesn’t get it, but many others don’t either. She is fully justified in her lawsuit, and this kind of disrespectful and irresponsible behavior needs to be punished.

    • Anna Kossua says:

      I second your nomination for the Voice of Reason award.

      Yeah, what’s so hard to understand? Belvedere stole an image from a video she made, took away its context so it appears to be promoting daterape or surprise buttsechs, and used it as an advertisement. Darn right she oughtta sue them!

      But since some people don’t see the problem, let’s make up our own. Steal the picture of Luke Skywalker staring out at the two suns of Tatooine, and add “Ore-Ida Tater Tots are Delicious!” over it. Or ET flying over the moon, and put “Pine-Sol is a Great Floor Cleaner.” Make sure you’re working for Ore-Ida or Pine-Sol when you make the ads. Then see how long it takes before Lucas or Spielberg send their lawyers your way.

  11. Sarahlara says:

    I regularly post on a fitness forum and we’ve had people see their posted “before & after” photos stolen for various diet pill ads. These were people who don’t even believe in using those products and who certainly weren’t paid or asked for the use of their likeness.

    I think this kind of image theft is pretty common. Lawsuits would help prevent it, and I’m all in favor of her suit. Why anybody here is blaming the victim or questioning her motives is beyond me. I would not want to be affiliated with this ad either.

  12. ovalseven says:
    • KidRey says:

      yep, some undisclosed settlement $$$ would be huge for her career…

    • Hi_Hello says:

      thanks. I watched it without the sound..but my info might be wrong.

      So let me get this straight. Belvedere used the picture from the video without anyone permission. Which is wrong, I agreed.

      People thought it had something to do with sexual assault… was it because of the caption Belvedere added or was it because of the picture itself?

      The lady in the picture is now distressed because it’s associated with sexual assault…

      The way I see, Belvedere owe her money for using without permssion.

      The distressed is her fault for making the video. She might have thought it was funny without realizing it look like a sexual assault. I think the picture can be viewed as some sort of sexual assault with or without the captions. But that’s just me.

      • VintageLydia says:

        You totally lost the context without the sound. And the sexualt assault connotations were definitely derived from the caption, though it can be implied by the image alone if you don’t know the context the picture was taken.

      • little stripes says:

        Let me get this straight: First, you post a few questions about the article that could have easily been answered if you had actually read the article yourself, instead of making everyone else explain it for you. It was also clear to me in your line of questioning that you were questioning the victim here. You were fishing for a way to make it her fault.

        And here it is! You watch the video without sound, therefore losing ALL of the context of the video … so you can victim blame without taking responsibility. The video had nothing at all to do with sexual assault, and the only reason that picture looks like sexual assault is because it was taken 100% out of context. And of course you think the picture looks like sexual assault, because the first time you saw it was when the vodka company took it out of context to begin with.

        Tip: Watch the video. With sound. And stop blaming the victim.

  13. r-nice says:

    I don’t buy the emotional distress part but she should sue for them stealing her likeness. What in the hell were they thinking with that ad man?

    • dolemite says:

      How do you not buy the “emotional distress” part? Her image was put in an ad campaign for millions to see without her permission. “Oh yeah…you’re the surprise buttsecks lady that doesn’t go down easy. I remember you.”

      • r-nice says:

        Sounds like something people toss in when they’re suing someone to me. I hope she wasn’t crying herself to sleep at night over this.

    • southpaw1971 says:

      Echoing, the question of how you don’t see “emotional distress” when you’re image is used in an ad suggestive of rape. You’ve got to be one callous m-f’er to not see how that could cause emotional distress to a woman.

      • r-nice says:

        Maybe I am a bit callous…

        • VintageLydia says:

          What if she was a rape survivor? Or has a close friend or relative that is? Or works in outreach for survivors of abuse and rape? Or maybe she’s had a few close calls like literally every woman and some men I’ve talk to about the subject has? Do you now see why she may be emotionally distressed?

          • r-nice says:

            You can throw “what ifs” around all day but i’m still not buying into emotional distress. How much is emotional distress worth?

            • The_IT_Crone says:

              As with offense, YOU don’t get to decide if someone has the right to be upset. And when a company does something like this on purpose, they need to learn that they’ll suffer for it. Just imagine this woman going out grocery shopping, and having 10 people point at her and say inflammatory things. What if she has lost friends because they thought she was supporting rape culture.

              Her career may even suffer, because companies might not want to be associated with this.

              • partofme says:

                That’s a pretty nice comparison…. because there’s also a good reason why “offense” is not an actionable tort.

    • MMD says:

      Probably because it’s not your likeness that’s been stolen to communicate a message that you find offensive.

  14. frenchman says:



  15. Nessiah says:

    I’m going out to buy Belvedere. The ad was hilarious.

    disclaimer: i am a man who does not beat his wife.

    • little stripes says:

      You think RAPE is hilarious?


      And not only that, but you think a woman who had her picture STOLEN to be used in an ad about rape is “hilarious”?! Wow. Just. Fucking wow.

      What if this was your daughter? Your wife? Would it be hilarious then that her picture was stolen without her permission to be used in an ad about rape?

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        I believe he is suffering from an empathy deficit.

      • msbask says:

        Maybe you should trying asking him, “What if this was your son?”. Some people don’t react to violence on women, but suggest gay sex and they go crazy.

    • VintageLydia says:

      You don’t have to beat your partner or be a rapist or even be a man to perpetuate rape culture, and rewarding a company specifically for an advertisement that implies rape and/or sexual assault IS perpetetuating rape culture.

      • KidRey says:

        Uh, what if I caught a cheap chuckle out of it, does that make me a raper too?

        Furthermore the ad is clearly depicting a ‘struggle-snuggle’ and not a rape….

        Am I perpetuating human nature by laughing? Yes.

        Would I sit idly by while anyone got sexually assaulted, no. (and no means no)

        • VintageLydia says:

          “Going down” on someone is a very common euphemism for oral sex and forcing someone to receive or perform oral sex is rape. And even a “struggle snuggle” is sexual assault. You may not be a rapist but finding these things funny, especially in the context of selling alcohol (the number one date rape drug due to it’s legality, ease to obtain and to use) definitely still perpetuates rape CULTURE.

          • myCatCracksMeUp says:

            I hate to disagree with you but I do. This man is clearly a rapist if he’s ever engaged in ‘struggle-snuggle’ as he likes to call it. When both parties aren’t 100% willing, it is rape.

        • myCatCracksMeUp says:

          struggle-snuggle? WTF?

          IF there is struggling then it is rape. You asshole. I hope someday you end up getting ‘struggle-snuggled’.

  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    You don’t distance yourself by suing them. Just sayin’

    Sue away, but be clear why.

    • VintageLydia says:

      She can publicly distance herself (as in, make it publically known you do not support the message of the advertisement) by suing. Not emotionally, probably, but even if she wanted to emotionally distance herself, suing is probably the most effective way to get compensated for use of her photo without letting them sweep all this under the rug and pretend they did nothing wrong.

      • r-nice says:

        Free publicity.

        • VintageLydia says:

          What does that have to do with anything? If anyone is giving this woman free publicity, it’s Belvedere Vodka for stealing her picture and opening themselves up for a public lawsuit (that they deserve.)

        • MMD says:

          Cynical troll!

          (I can make sweeping snap judgments about people I don’t know, too!)

    • r-nice says:

      I’m sayin’

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      If she doesn’t, people will think that she was a willing participant. This is a textbook case of defamation of character/libel. If companies shy away from hiring her because she’s now associated with this ad, she may have additional grounds there as well.

      Plus, I’m personally in favor of spanking companies that do this, HARD. Regardless of the subject matter, Belvedere should have use paid actors, not stolen the work of others.

  17. chippy says:

    I believe this may be the same company who had an ad starring Vincent Gallo and Terry Richardson (noted creep). In other words, this is totally not surprising.

  18. some.nerd says:

    They were probably drunk when they made the ad… and wrote the apology.

  19. GoldVRod says:

    My television company ( if anyone cares) makes tv type graphic nonsense and part of our buy-out library are virtual studio backdrops aimed at lower budgets and home/amateur movie makers. That’s not to demean our products or our customers – it’s just the reality of the matter. Our low prices are reflected in that fact; $50-$100 gets you several entire 3D TV studio sets for continued use without a royalty fee or contract. So that one off payment is all you make.

    So it may surprise some of you when you hear that ‘proper’ movies have ‘borrowed’ our products found by merely doing a google image search. Yup – they couldn’t be bothered to get a license costing $99 or so and just downloaded a still off the web.

    Which movies you ask? Yeah think I’d name them?


    “My Name is Bruce” starring Bruce Campbell has a section where there’s a news report and in the background is one of our sets from Virtual Studio Sets Volume 1. I have no record of that production company buying a license. I could not find a phone number for them so sent an email.

    “Down in Front With Dana Carvey” Had a large section with the same news set. This time I tracked down the producer’s contact details and gave them a call.

    I’m sure there’s more. I just happened to see those movies and was rather surprised to see my work.

    The Down In Front producer was very responsive at least and quite apologetic and I retrospectively granted them the rights for free as a gesture of goodwill. The My Name is Bruce lot didn’t bother to respond to my email.

    So this kind of thing happens. All the time. Sucks.

    • dolemite says:

      My guess is, 50% of the time, they’d offer to pay the small fee, and the other 50%, they ignore it.

      Now, if this were the MPAA or RIAA, they’d be asking for 5 million.

      • GoldVRod says:

        What’s pathetic is I’m sure they’d get all lawyery on my bottom if I decided to included their movie in one of my products.

        I’m not sure you can legally copyright a work that contains copyright infringing material(s). Hmmm… They should both fire their clearance people regardless though.

  20. Galium says:

    Just to shed some different light and keep the thread going. What about the guy in the picture? If the lady is suing for her likeness being portrayed as a rape victim, is it not just as bad to be portrayed as a rapist? I have not seen any comments about how this makes the guy look really really bad. Then again he is not a minority so why should anyone care.

    • little stripes says:

      I was with you until your last sentence, which just comes off as, “OH THE POOR MENZ!” whining.

      It is also terrible that his picture is being used without his permission. He should also sue, if he wants to. I’d be 100% for that. This is not cool in any way. But it’s possible he doesn’t want to sue. Or maybe he is and it’s just not getting reported.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Agreed with little stripes, I was totally with you until the last sentence. You crossed the line from “absolutely, false rape accusations are extremely harmful to both the accused and real victims of rape” to “men are the real victims here” in 0.1 second.

      Maybe his lawyer is just a little bit slower than hers, and he’ll sue next week.

  21. AngryK9 says:

    “I just want to distance myself from this ad as much as possible…but not before spending months in court hoping to get a huge payment out of them first”

    • VintageLydia says:

      She’s distancing herself publically by making it clear she does not support the message of the advertisement. What better way to do that PLUS be fairly compensated for the use of her image and copywrited picture than by suing?

  22. graytotoro says:

    This is the worst Seinfeld episode ever.

  23. human_shield says:

    Some lazy guy in charge of their Facebook account tried to make an ad without thinking. He’ll be fired, the company will pay a settlement, and all will be well with the world.

  24. droidor says:

    Thats her chance for megamillions!

  25. rambo76098 says:

    Learn to take a joke people. If it was me, I’d be happy for the free publicity (if I was in a line of work where publicity helped).

  26. dwtomek says:

    To all those who for some reason can’t see that this is a jackpot for an aspiring actress: had you heard of this lady before today? How about now? You cannot buy publicity like this. That being said, she obviously has plenty of grounds to sue. Still, that does not negate the fact that this fiasco will be great for her career.

    I still wonder how people instantly assume that rape is the intent of this ad. I mean, is “boy that rape didn’t go down smoothly” something that has ever been said? More common from my perspective would be something like “boy that line didn’t go down smoothly.” But I guess everybody be raping everybody up in here.

  27. dobgold says:

    It’s getting to be impossibel to drink vodka and still be politically correct.. I quit drinking Stoli when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Grey Goose when the French wouldn’t help in Iraq (we should have listened to them) and now this with the misogynistic Belvedere. Next stop, Ketel One from Holland, Tito’s and Charbay from the US.