Fashion Law: Who You Calling a Diva? Naomi Campbell to Sue Cadbury Chocolate

In Fashion Law by FASHIONENTLAW™

We can all agree that Naomi Campbell should not have committed previous assault and batteries on domestic help(s), but what’s with Cadbury Chocolate trying to make a “gang of money” off Ms. Campbell? Who are the highly paid marketing advertising and PR executives who come up with these ideas?! What does Naomi Campbell and her “divaness” or lack thereof  have to do with Cadbury?

Here is the news from Daily Mail UK:

“Naomi Campbell is considering taking legal action against Cadbury after claiming a ‘racist’ advertisement compares her to a chocolate bar.

The supermodel said she was shocked and hurt to see her name on billboards and in newspapers next to the Dairy Milk Bliss bar.

Black civil rights groups have urged shoppers to boycott products of Cadbury’s U.S. parent company, Kraft Foods.

And Miss Campbell, who is known for being litigious, said she is currently considering taking ‘every available option’ over the adverts that appeared in a national newspaper last week and in supermarkets, reading, ‘Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town’.

She said: ‘I am shocked. It’s upsetting to be described as chocolate, not just for me but for all black women and black people.I do not find any humour in this. It is insulting and hurtful.’ . . .

First things first, I fail to see the racism here. Am I missing something? Feel free to connect the dots for me, if you all care to. Where is the racism Ms. Campbell? “Diva” in legal jurisprudence, street talk and the world of fashion and entertainment has never translated to racism. Did I miss anything?

Second, “insulting and hurtful” is not enough, per se, for legal action. You are a public figure and people do say hurtful and mean things. C’est la vie. As I say often, “it is what it is.”

What to do, what to do if you are Naomi Campbell? We take this “baby” and flip it on its head . Even more specifically, we look for liability via the “Rights of Publicity” statutes.

What’s the Scoop on Right of Publicity Laws?
In basic English, these are state statutes that say a person, (or) company as in the case here, cannot use your “name, image, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness” for commercial gain without your consent. In California, you can find this statute under California Civil Code § 3344. The California statute applies whether you are alive or dead.

It used to be no one really paid attention to this statute. But now, Hollywood celebrities are using the statute where they would not have prevailed under other typical tort claims.

What Would Naomi Get If She Sued?
First, I think she should sue. Cadbury was wrong and an apology does not preclude consequences to actions. Campbell put the whole criminal issues behind her and Cadbury, being a business in the business of selling products as opposed to a reporter etc., is not protected and should not get away with bad behavior like this. Campbell has been on the wrong side of the law. She has done her time and should be left alone, especially by private companies who sell chocolate. Focus on selling your chocolates and leave Ms. Campbell alone. Beyond causing her emotional distress (“great emotional distress” I presume?) and profiting off her name, without consent and compensation, the lawsuit would drive home the point that she is not one to be picked on; just because Cadbury felt like picking on a celeb.

What Would Naomi Get if She Sued?
In a place like California which has a Right of Publicity statute, the law calls for remedies stated below:

“In addition, in any action brought under this section, the person who violated the section shall be liable to the injured party or parties in an:

  • amount equal to the greater of seven hundred fifty dollars ($750)
  • or the actual damages suffered by him or her as a result of the unauthorized use,
  • and any profits from the unauthorized use that are attributable to the use and are not taken into account in computing the actual damages.
  • In establishing such profits, the injured party or parties are required to present proof only of the gross revenue attributable to such use, and the person who violated this section is required to prove his or her deductible expenses.
  • Punitive damages may also be awarded to the injured party or parties.
  • The prevailing party in any action under this section shall also be entitled to attorney’s fees and costs.

By the way, what’s with the Daily Mail saying Campbell is “known for being litigious?” Really? Like really, really? *Rolls eyes.* Criminal charges brought by Prosecutors against Campbell, does not make her “litigious.” Neither is testifying as a witness in court during the Charles Taylor trial, when compelled to by court order i.e. subpeona.

Daily Mail UK has the full story.