Tuesday, May. 19, 2009

No Laughing Matter

The talk was tough, but definitely not cheap. After director Woody Allen filed a $10 million lawsuit against American Apparel Inc. for unlawful use of his image to sell merchandise, attorneys for the clothing company fired back by requesting information about Allen's family life, personal finances and career. The company's motive? To construct the argument that Allen's image wasn't worth that much. "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," said corporate spokesman Stuart Slotnick, who added that Allen's ex-wife, actress Mia Farrow, and her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, whom Allen married, could be subpoenaed to testify.

On May 18, 2009 — the day the trial was set to begin in a Manhattan courtroom — American Apparel settled the suit and agreed to pay the director $5 million. But the verbal sparring wasn't over. From the courthouse steps, a still miffed Allen proclaimed, "Threats and press leaks by American Apparel designed to smear me did not work ... I suspect this dose of legal reality led to their 11th-hour settlement." For his part, Dov Charney, president of American Apparel, remained nonchalant about the kerfuffle: "We would never try to malign the dignity of Mr. Allen ... I hope to meet him on more friendly terms at a different point."