Ariana Grande is suing retailer Forever 21 for deliberately using a look-alike in a commercial it filmed advertising the deal. Before the spot aired, Grande was given a heads up. Ultimately, a potential collaboration between Grande and Forever 21 fell through some time between late 2018 and early 2019.
According to documents filed Monday in California, Grande alleged that Forever 21 wanted her to endorse its "clothing and accessory products" while offering nothing in return.
According to Buzzfeed, Forever 21 was angling for an endorsement of its "clothing and accessory products" (Of course, whatever the company's plans had been, it's very likely that it could buy a flurry of posts from an army of influencers during the latter half of the week).
However, the company was unwilling "to pay the fair market value for a celebrity of Ms. Grande’s stature," and thus the partnership didn't workout, Grande's lawyers alleged in the lawsuit.
Instead, the fast-fashion giant, in what appeared to be an "unauthorized marketing campaign", improvised a workaround and said and "falsely suggested" her participation by hiring a model who bore a striking resemblance to the "Thank U, Next" vocalist.
In the suit, Grande’s team referenced images from the singer’s "7 Rings" music video posted to Forever 21’s Instagram account (shown below).
Another image (again, below) features a Grande lookalike with a similar hairstyle and headpiece to the one the singer wore in the original video.
Instead of paying Grande what she would be owed for using her likeness, Grande's lawyers said Forever 21 "simply stole it by launching a misleading campaign across its website and social media platforms primarily in January and February 2019," capitalizing on the success of Grande's newly released album.
In addition, the company also rode Grande's coattails by timing the campaign's launch to coincide with the release of Grande's then-newly released album.
As referenced above, the "market value" for a single Instagram post from Grande "is well into six figures." Sometimes, she can even "command in the mid-seven figures to over eight figures" for longer term endorsement deals.
All told, Grande is suing the company for $10 million.
Grande's fans may not understand the deep irony at play here. Since Forever 21 is filing for bankruptcy, actually securing that payout is like getting blood from a stone.
So Grande can get in line with everybody else who claims Forever 21 owes them money.