According to the New York Post, actress Lindsay Lohan is suing E-Trade for $100 million for pain and suffering caused by their Super Bowl ad.
The semi-funny (and non-compelling) ad shows a milkaholic baby named Lindsay (or Lindsey) with a guilty looking baby-husband. Yes, the ad is pretty terrible; so is the legal claim. However, so much passes for online defamation lately, it is unwise to laugh this off entirely.
Lohan’s lawyer, Stephanie Ovadia, stakes out a wafer-thin claim of Personal Publicity.
“Many celebrities are known by one name only, and E-Trade is using that knowledge to profit…They used the name Lindsay as a parody of her life. Why didn’t they use the name Susan? This is a subliminal message. Everybody’s talking about it and saying it’s Lindsay Lohan.”
If this line of complaint was allowed to stand, just imagine the case members of the Kennedy family would have against The Simpsons over Mayor Quimby. A cultural reference isn’t use of personal publicity, and a lucky judge in Nassau County will get to hold forth on this.
PETA’s Tiger Woods ad is a better case for the Right of Personal Publicity.