American Apparel vs. Woody Allen’s Sex Life

American Apparel, the nation’s largest remaining clothing manufacturer, infamous for ads like this and this and this used Woody Allen’s photo on one of their billboards without his consent.

Allen is suing for $10 million.

American Apparel gave him the “Oh no you didn’t” finger wag and their lawyer Stuart Slotnick (what a great name for a lawyer, if I injured my back or was involved in a motorcycle accident, I’d call him!) countered with document requests and subpoenas digging into Allen’s personal life.

From a story in the Huffington Post:

American Apparel lawyer Stuart Slotnick said the company plans to make Allen’s relationships to actress Mia Farrow and her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, whom Allen married, the focus of a trial scheduled to begin in federal court in Manhattan on May 18.

“Woody Allen expects $10 million for use of his image on billboards that were up and down in less than one week,” Slotnick said. “I think Woody Allen overestimates the value of his image.”

He said the company’s belief was that “after the various sex scandals that Woody Allen has been associated with, corporate America’s desire to have Woody Allen endorse their product is not what he may believe it is.”

One billboard featured a frame from “Annie Hall,” a film that won Allen a best-director Oscar. The image showed Allen dressed as a Hasidic Jew with a long beard and black hat and Yiddish text. The words “American Apparel” also were on the billboard.

Allen’s lawsuit said the billboard falsely implied he sponsored, endorsed or was associated with American Apparel.

Slotnick said it was not a cheap shot to bring up Allen’s sex life in a lawsuit over the billboard and Internet ads.

“It’s certainly relevant in assessing the value of an endorsement,” he said.

Allen on why he wouldn’t do an add for American Apparel:

“I’ve always been, from the start of my career, a special taste,” he said. “There have always been people that have loved me and there have always been people that didn’t know what I was about and couldn’t see anything in me.”

Allen also said ads shown to him by American apparel, including his rabbi ad, “have a sleazy quality to them” and were “not classy.”

He said if he were to do a commercial, he would have to be paid a lot and “it would have to be a very clever, kind of witty or intellectual-style” commercial. He said being asked to do an American Apparel ad would be like being asked to do a deodorant or cigarette commercial.

This battle is fascinating because you have a guy, Allen, who has been involved in “grossly inappropriate” (a judge’s words not mine) conduct with his step-daughter suing a company headed by a man, Dov Charney, who has a closet full of well-documented sexual indiscretions. And both sides are slinging poo about the other’s image.

But wait, now Charney is praising Allen:

I have deep respect for Mr. Allen who is a source of inspiration to me. The billboards and images from the Annie Hall movie were intended to be a parody/social statement and comedic satire to provoke discussion and public discourse about the baseless claims that had been made against American Apparel and myself, society’s reaction to lawsuits that delve into an individual’s private sexual life and the media’s sensationalism of such matters.

American Apparel tends to get great mileage out of their controversial billboards. Someone in their marketing department is probably getting a raise for this one. If their intent was truly to be a social statement to provoke discussion about society’s reaction to lawsuits that delve into an individual’s sex life, mission accomplished!

Echo says:

How are they changing their story, this article went up a year ago and said basically the same thing. They even posted it on their Twitter acct yesterday

Kelsey says:

I must’ve missed this when the story first broke. Even more of a testament to the mileage American Apparel has gotten out of this billboard. One year of publicity. I think it’s back in the news because the legal stuff is starting to come to a head.

Both Allen and AA are getting exposure. Both are winners in their own right, I guess.

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