‘Mad Men’ Sued By 1950s Model For Using Her Image In The Opening Credits

Gita May Hall's Not Having It

As I told y’all a while back, I just started watching AMC‘s Mad Men this year and I’m trying like cray to catch up in time for the sixth season premiere in April. Like many fans, I could probably put the opening credit theme song together frame by frame, lol. So I was really interested when I learned that a 1950s model was suing the television show for using her image. Click inside to learn more!

E! has the story:

Someone’s suing mad over Mad Men.

The studio behind the Emmy-winning AMC series has been slapped with a lawsuit by a woman who claims that the show used an unauthorized image of her for its famous opening credits.

Per Deadline, in a lawsuit filed Friday against Lionsgate in Los Angeles Superior Court, model Gita May Hall, who shot to fame in the 1950s and 1960s, alleges that the show’s producers didn’t secure her consent before running a shot of her face taken from a 1950s Revlon hairspray ad photographed by legendary lensman Richard Avedon.

“Given her stature, [Hall] consented to the use of her likeness, and the Avedon photo embodying it, only for the then-current run of the Revlon campaign,” the complaint states. “At no time did she agree to allow, forty years later, her image to be cropped from the photo, in secret, and inserted as a key element in the title sequence of a cable television series, without her consent and for commercial purposes.”…

Hall is suing for damages and lost profits, and is also seeking compensation for attorney’s fees and other costs.

It never occurred to me that the image of that woman’s face actually belonged to a real, live, person… lol. But yeah, that makes sense. And it kinda makes sense that that person would want some kind of credit/money for this, though it’s unclear how much Gita May (gotta love that name) wants.

What do you guys think of the lawsuit? Fair game or what?

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  1. This reminds me of the guy who was on the Nescafe instant coffee…

    Honestly, I always fast-forward through opening credits and never noticed this woman. And if you are paid to be a model, doesn’t that mean the model no longer owns the rights to the image?

    • @Cristina If I recall correctly, there are forms that models sometimes sign to waive their rights to photos. If Hall signed one of those, then the company who actually holds the rights can sell it to whoever it wishes.

  2. Britney'sBitch

    Get that money, betch!

  3. I would think that Revlon owns that image, and it depends on what kind of deal they had in place with the model. Revlon could very well have sold the image to Mad Men, and it would be their responsibility to make sure she was paid if due.

    I highly doubt her contract from the 1950s would have allowed her to be compensated for Revlon using that image in other campaigns. Contracts for performers and models have really evolved over the years, and that was 60 years ago. Also, the comment in her suit that “the Main Titles were integral to the success of Mad Men” is such crap. Mad Men’s opening credits are great, but that is NOT why the show is so successful. That line makes her sound really greedy.

  4. Pelopenny

    This is about controlling the use of your image. If Mad Men uses an image that is unauthorized, they have to compensate. It isn’t about “greed” or “she should be honored” or any of that nonsense that internet commenters always trot out when someone gets caught using some unauthorized image or sample.

    • But she probably wasn’t in charge of authorizing the image. It is highly doubtful that the image was her property, it was most likely Revlon’s property. Notice, it isn’t Revlon suing Mad Men.

      Many times when models get their picture taken, they are releasing control over how that picture is used. It is all about the fine print.

  5. A few years ago, I read about a lawsuit involving Judd Apatow’s movie “Knocked Up.” There was somebody who had a book out with the same title and who was suing Apatow because he stole her idea (because both had a female protagonist who got pregnant without meaning to). Apparently, these kinds of lawsuits are common for money grabs. The plaintiff knows that they won’t win, but that there is a good chance that the defendant will settle out of court.

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