Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sleaze: Individual vs. Corporate

For the first time since at least the mid-1980s I feel sorry for Woody Allen. My personal opinion, just to get it out of the way, is that everything Mia Farrow accused him of is true. And that's all I have to say about that, because other than representing a generation's worth of cinema, the man has no personal connection to my life.

Now, on to American Apparel. This company also has no connection to my life whatsoever, other than furnishing my terminally fashionable son with clothing that is acceptable to him. It makes me no never mind, as my grandma used to say.

But, as anyone who has taken a General Business 101 course can quickly tell you, ya DON'T use the image of a celebrity in your ads without obtaining their permission and/or being prepared to compensate that person for the use of their image. Or go to court...

Heck, I vividly remember Robyn Smith, the former jockey and widow of Fred Astaire, doing serious battle with various advertisers who attempted to doctor film footage of the dancing legend to sell their wares. Fred was dead already; probably could not have cared less, alive or dead, but someone was concerned enough about preserving his dignity and reputation to prevent those intangibles from being appropriated for someone else's gain.

So here's ol' Woody, understandably miffed at the unauthorized use of his image. When you're miffed, you use lots of subjective, opinionated-type words, such as "sleaze." That should have no bearing on the legal proceedings.

But because sound bites richly reward anyone who behaves childishly, American Apparel has chosen to escalate the war of words by getting out their rusty shovels and dig-dig-diggin' the dirt on the plaintiff.

Sheez. Didn't I see this on L.A. Law? Where's Susan Bloom when we need her, other than doing Charlie Sheen's laundry?

I hope the judge hangs these corporate clowns out to dry. Agree with it or not, another judge found Woody Allen relatively guilt-free a long time ago. Taking a "best-defense-is-a-good-offense" approach cannot help American Apparel. All it will help is the ratings on various tabloid-TV news shows (which means all of them).


Kay Dennison said...


Snowbrush said...

There's more on Woody and Mia? I thought that was a few years old now, but then what do I know?

Volly said...

Snowbrush, it was over a decade ago, which is another reason AA gets a big fat raspberry for dredging it up again now.