Didn’t see this coming. The Blast is reporting that Fiji got all the promo it needed at the Golden Globes this year when it got a girl in a blue dress holding some water to somehow upstage every famous and famous-ish person on the red carpet. But it looks like all that promo might cost them, as the ominous-looking Fiji Water Girl herself, Kelleth Cuthbert, is suing the hand that fed her for not feeding her enough.
Kelleth is coming after some cold hard cash from the Fiji Water Company and The Wonderful Company, saying they created an unauthorized marketing campaign based off of the creepy dead eyes she was serving us from behind those celebs.
She claims a day after the Golden Globes, Fiji Water “intentionally created cardboard cutouts of Steinbach for us in a cardboard cutout marketing campaign.” Here’s the cardboard cutout of The Fiji Water Girl stealing the pap spotlight from John Legend:
The 'Fiji Water Girl', who went viral after she photobombed most celebrities' red carpet photos at the Golden Globes, has sued Fiji water for using her photo on cardboard cutouts without seeking her permission. pic.twitter.com/XCq3JrBj2C
— AdForumCo (@AdForumCo) February 1, 2019
The Golden Globes were on January 6. On January 8, Kelleth says that Fiji tried negotiating an agreement with her modeling agent, but the very next day they learned the cutout was already being used at a Bristol Farms in West Hollywood. Of course West Hollywood: us gays love a pop culture reference–Fiji Water knows its audience.
The lawsuit claims Fiji Water tried offering “gifts to entice” Kelleth into signing her rights away, and also alleges they:
“Pressured Steinbach into video recording a fake signing of a fake document to simulate Steinbach signing on as a Fiji Water Ambassador.”
Her legal people say the document was not a contract and she ended up destroying it anyway. They’re saying that Fiji knew there was no official agreement but kept using Kelleth’s image anyway. She believes she helped them generate $12 million worth of brand exposure and wants them to stop using her likeness immediately, as well as hand over their wallets to her for “monetary damages.”
Fiji Water has this to say:
“This lawsuit is frivolous and entirely without merit. After the Golden Globes social media moment, we negotiated a generous agreement with Ms. Cuthbert that she blatantly violated… We are confident that we will prevail in Court. Throughout our history, we have had a sterling reputation working with talent.”
Well girl I hope you get that money! And lets be real: if someone deserves to be shaken down it’s a company who sells water which is free to people for $5. Jamie Lee Curtis is probably going to be so proud she’ll give you a shout out in her next Activia commercial. Maybe she can make you an Activia Ambassador since you’re burning this bridge with Fiji Water? Stay tuned for Kelleth to be keeping starts regular as they head down the red carpet to the Oscars.