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Carmen Electra, other models sue Baltimore strip club for using their photos on social media

Madeleine O'Neill, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Entertainment News

A group of models and social media stars have sued the Gentlemen’s Gold Club for using their images to promote the well-known Baltimore strip club online without permission.

The plaintiffs include Carmen Electra, the former “Baywatch” actress who has brought similar lawsuits against other strip clubs across the country in recent years.

The social media posts referenced in the lawsuit date back to 2015 and are still visible on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, though the Gold Club has not posted on the site since 2021.

The models’ lawsuit claims the club used their images without their permission or knowledge, in some cases pulling the photos directly from the women’s social media pages. The complaint alleges the Gold Club misused the photos to make it appear the models worked at or endorsed the business.

“Plaintiffs’ careers in the modeling industry place a high degree of value on their good will and reputation, which is critical in order to maximize their earning potential, book modeling contracts, and establish each of their individual brands,” wrote New York attorney John V. Golaszewski, who is representing the women. “In furtherance of establishing, and maintaining, their brands, plaintiffs are necessarily selective concerning the companies, and brands, for which they model.”

The lawsuit brings claims under the Lanham Act, a federal trademark law that protects consumers and trademark owners from false or misleading representations in advertising. The complaint also raises defamation and unjust enrichment claims.

The other plaintiffs are models from the United States, England and Colombia. The photos shared on X show the women in lingerie or topless and were sometimes posted with the hashtags #stripperlife or #mondaymotivation.

 

Phone and email messages left with the Gentlemen’s Gold Club were not immediately returned Monday. The lawyer for the models also did not return an email requesting comment.

A similar lawsuit brought by Electra, who recently legally adopted the stage name as her own, had a mixed outcome. Electra and other U.S. models sued several New York City strip clubs over the use of their images.

Electra won a ban against the clubs using her photographs but was denied monetary damages. Ten other models who also sued lost because a federal court in New York determined they did not have a strong enough brand to invoke trademark protection.

The models appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices declined to take up the case in 2021.

Other lawsuits have been settled.


©2024 The Baltimore Sun. Visit at baltimoresun.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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