Forever 21 has been officially sued by the pop superstar Ariana Grande for $10 million in damages. The company has allegedly used a look-alike model for marketing on social media. The complaint was filed in a federal court in California. Forever 21 had reached out to representatives of Grande for an endorsement deal because of her latest album “Thank u, next”. According to the complaint “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.” A single Instagram post by Grande commands six figures or more. That is far more than Forever 21 was willing to pay for the use of Grande’s name and likeness so the deal did not happen. One of the goals in this case is to stop this company from continuing this poor track records of ignoring the rights of others in the future.

After Ms. Grande declined the deal, instead of paying for the rights to work with Grande’s image, Defendants launched a misleading campaign on its social media platforms and website from January to February 2019. The campaign used Grade’s “Thank U, Next” album by using 30 images and videos misappropriating Grande’s music, image, name, likeness, to falsely imply an endorsement from the pop superstar. Grande says Forever 21 has had a reputation for heading to the courts over knockoffs. This time the case is unique because the company used a model with a similar hairstyle, look, and accessory as Grande in her 7 Rings video. Forever 21 took a step further with the images by adding the music from the video and lyrics to the song as well. Legal superstar Daniel Petrocelli at O”Melveny is representing Grande. Petrocelli says Forever 21’s actions violate California’s right of publicity statue, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, and false endorsement under the Lenham Act. Grande is believed to be entitled to restitution of all profits, revenues, and additional benefits resulting from Forever 21’s conduct. The exact amount Ms. Grande is entitled to for this conscious disregard of her rights will be determined and proven during the trial.

Ariana Grande is an popular singer, songwriter, and actress who has worked hard do master her craft and create a personal brand that is globally known. She is one of the most successful pop superstars in the industry today. Her social media following is unmatched by any female celebrity across the globe. In February of 2019 Grande was announced as the most followed woman on Instagram with over 160 million followers. Grande’s high influence and stature is what makes companies pursue her quite frequently seeking an endorsement for their marketing campaigns. The majority of these companies are willing to pay large sums to get Ms. Grande to help promote their product lines. Her fees range from a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars up to millions of dollars for promotions. In many ways this lawsuit is similar to what Kim Kardashian went through before suing Old Navy for marketing with a look-alike for her image. The case went through extreme measures to determine if Kardashian’s reputation was ruined before it finally reached a settlement. Forever 21 has not yet commented on this matter.