Woody Allen ended more than a year of legal sparring with American Apparel Inc. Monday when he agreed to a $5 million settlement from the retailer on the morning their dispute over unauthorized billboard advertisements was to go to trial.
“It’s of course possible that by going through the trial a jury might have awarded me more money but this is not how I make my living and $5 million is enough to discourage American Apparel or anyone else from trying such a thing again,” Allen said.
The filmmaker filed a $10 million violation of privacy suit against the Los Angeles-based retailer in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in March 2008. During the prior year, the company ran billboards bearing his face in New York and Los Angeles without his permission. The advertisements, which were up less than a week before being taken down at Allen’s behest, depicted him dressed as an Orthodox rabbi in a scene from his 1977 film “Annie Hall.” Hebrew script on the signs, which also ran on the company’s Web site, referred to Allen as the company’s spiritual leader.
Jury selection in the case was to have begun Monday morning. In pretrial filings, Allen’s attorneys said American Apparel did not seek their client’s permission and that he had a long history of turning down endorsements. American Apparel’s lawyers had argued the ads made a social statement and were protected speech, but Judge Thomas Griesa threw out their motion seeking dismissal on First Amendment grounds last week.
Chief executive officer Dov Charney took to the company’s blog Monday, where he wrote more than 1,500 words to explain the billboards and settlement. He said he thought the company had a good case but that its insurance carrier, which controlled the defense, wanted to settle. He added Allen was one of his inspirations.
“Naturally there is some relief of not having to go through a trial, but I also harbor a sense of remorse and sadness for not arguing an important issue regarding the First Amendment, particularly the ability of an individual or corporation to invoke the likeness of a public figure in a satirical and social statement,” he wrote.
Charney has made American Apparel a go-to brand for the hipster set in recent years using a strategy of racy ads and bright basics, all of them produced domestically in Los Angeles. He’s also been the subject of several sexual harassment lawsuits in that time.
In his post, the ceo drew a parallel between those suits and Allen’s own public trials. In 1992, the director was romantically linked to Soon-Yi Previn, 22 years old at the time and the adopted daughter of his longtime girlfriend, Mia Farrow. Allen and Previn married in 1997.
Lawyers for American Apparel had questioned whether Allen’s endorsement was worth the $10 million he sought in light of the ensuing damage to his reputation. Earlier this month, they included the names of both Previn and Farrow on a pretrial disclosure of possible witnesses.
“Threats and press leaks by American Apparel designed to smear me did not work and a scheme to call a long list of witnesses who had absolutely nothing to do with the case was also disallowed by the court,” Allen said. His lawyers said the settlement was the largest reported sum ever paid under the New York Right to Privacy statute.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews