Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for using a lookalike in ads, after a potential promotional deal between her and the struggling fashion retailer fell through.
According to paperwork filed in Los Angeles federal court on Monday, Grande has filed a lawsuit against Forever 21. The lawsuit also includes Riley Rose, which is Forever 21’s new beauty boutique filled with millennials searching for the best retinol creams or trendy eyeshadow colors.
Grande is accusing them of false endorsement, trademark infringement, and copyright infringement, among other claims.
The paperwork, which was filed by an attorney on behalf of Grande and her company, Forever 21 had wanted the pop star to endorse its clothing and accessory products through social media marketing, such as posts on Instagram and Twitter.
Negotiations over the possible endorsement deal took place in December 2018 and January 2019, but never came to fruition. The documents filed state that no deal was reached because Forever 21 was unwilling to pay enough for “an artist of her stature.”
Grande claims that the company used at least 30 unauthorized pictures and videos in its marketing campaign across its website and social media platforms that supposedly feature the singer’s name, image, likeness, and music in a way that could mislead fans to believe she supposed the products. The campaign “capitalized on the concurrent success of Ms. Grande’s album Thank U.”
Grande became aware of the unauthorized campaign using a lookalike in February.
Representatives for the pop star demanded that Forever 21 take down the unauthorized campaign, but despite repeated contact, it remained up until at least mid-April. The lawsuit says that because of this, Forever 21 profited from Grande’s “influence and star-power” for around 14 weeks.
In total, Grande is seeking at least $10 million.
This lawsuit comes only a week after reports emerged that the fashion retailer could be in financial trouble and potentially filing for bankruptcy.
Forever 21, which operates about 800 stores with more than $3 billion in annual sales, is reportedly in talks with advisers and lenders about restructuring its debt. Filing for bankruptcy would offer an opportunity for the company to restructure while still continuing to operate.