Ariana Grande may appear to be all lightness and air, but in reality she is not to be played with. She made all of this very clear when news emerged today that she has sued California-based Forever 21 and its sub-brand Riley Rose for “no less than $10 million” in damages for using her likeness and lyrics in social media campaigns earlier this year.
In a lawsuit filed Monday (September 2, 2019) in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, Grande’s team documented 30 instances in which the retailer mimicked her appearance with look-a-like models, depicted well-known motifs from her videos and also label posts with her lyrics, all of which implied she was partnered with the chain.
In one Instagram post featuring a model wearing two pink, puff ball hair accessories similar to one previously worn by Grande, the caption read “Gee thanks, just bought it,” lyrics featured in her single “7 rings.” The company also made use of lyrics from “thank u next,” “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored.”
Forever 21 initially reach out to Grande’s team with a sponsorship in late 2018/early 2019. However, according to filings, “She explicitly declined due to Forever 21’s unwillingness to pay the fair market value for a celebrity of Ms. Grande’s stature.”
When Grande first became aware of Forever 21’s copycat marketing efforts in February 2019, she had her team reach out immediately to the chain. And while Forever 21 agreed to take down all the imagery, images on various social media feeds remained live until mid-April 2019.
The filings went on to detail Grande’s many achievements as both a musical artist and an influencer, all of which enable her to command “well into the six figures” for a single Instagram post.
Given Forever 21’s wobbly financial status which includes potentially filing for bankruptcy, recovering any money for damages seems like a long shot.
Check out some of the images that are the subject of the suit below.