The model who offered Fiji Water to the stars at the Golden Globes is now suing the water company, alleging that they used her likeness without her permission in a post-Globes marketing campaign.
Kelly Steinbach, who models under the name Kelleth Cuthbert, said that the brand turned photos of her into cardboard cut-outs for stores after the red carpet photos with her in the background went viral.
Fiji Water moved fast, apparently cranking out the cut-outs the very next day. The lawsuit claims that “intentionally created cardboard cutouts of Steinbach for use in a cardboard cutout marketing campaign” were made without getting her consent to the campaign in writing.
According to The Blast, Steinbach is claiming that Fiji “pressured Steinbach into video recording a fake signing of a fake document to simulate Steinbach signing on as a Fiji Water Ambassador.” They claim that she never signed a real agreement, eventually destroying the contract that was sent to her by the company. However, the cardboard cutouts featuring her image were made, and now Cuthbert is coming for a percentage.
Cuthbert noticed the cutouts all over Los Angeles and now she's suing the company for monetary damages and to force the company to end the campaign immediately. She believes that the images of her generated over $12 million in exposure and she's seeking a cut of that amount.
Fiji Water has released a statement on the lawsuit:
This lawsuit is frivolous and entirely without merit. After the Golden Globes social media moment, we negotiated a generous agreement with Ms. Cuthbert that she blatantly violated. We are confident that we will prevail in Court. Throughout our history, we have had a sterling reputation working with talent.