Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Can You Tweet Star Power?

Actress Katherine Heigl is suing drugstore chain Duane Reade because they tweeted a photograph of her exiting a store, bags of stuff in her hands. They used her handle and said she can't resist shopping there.

Is the store allowed to send that image into the social media world? Is she fair game since she is in public? Can they make that statement as well?

Is the store taking advantage of her star power to market their goods? Is there anything wrong with that?

Is this an unauthorized use of her likeness or is it just a silly tweet of a paparazzi photo, with a silly caption?

Here's the next big question for you: if you retweet the post, can you be sued as well?


Meredith Hebert said...

Katherine Heigl is a public figure, therefore she is fair game. They didn't incriminate her or spread libel. They simply used a picture (which I'm sure they didn't take themselves and took from a paparazzi/website). And quite frankly, I don't understand why she would be mad about this or want to sue. It is a flattering image and just presents her shopping, not doing anything embarrassing or looking bad.

I don't think people can be sued for retweeting this image because even though they are sharing/posting it, it is shown as being posted by Duane Reade and it links back to them.

Ja'Bryia Morrow said...

I think the store is using it for personal gain. A huge public figure shops here so you should shop here to. Come take a look and try to guess what she bought or better yet, buy something yourself. The store is taking advantage of her star power but it would it make a difference if she was being paid to do it. If she were a paid spokesperson or poster women that went around referencing it would that make it better. I think its unavoidable when you’re in the public light. I think the real issue for her is that she is being used as a marketing tool and not being compensated for it. I think it's fair game because it is not libel. Saying she shops there won't hurt her reputation, it’s not as though the store is a front for a crystal meth factory. If the same image was posted on TMZ, saying "TMZ caught Katherine Heigl outside this NYC drugstore" It’s just a headline saying she’s spotted. If the same headline said something like she’s loading up or doping up, then that is caused for libel because its insinuating drug use of some king which can be damaging to her image. The tweet does not take any shots at her. It’s a little extreme to sue for them insinuating you shop there a lot. I mean who does major shopping at drug stores anyway.

Danika Palmeri said...

I think that Duane Reade should be allowed to use this photo to promote their brand because celebrities are constantly used to promote brands, whether it be in television commercials such as Neutrogena or Proactiv, or clothing designers on the red carpet. Of course, celebrities that promote these brands are being paid to do so, so I believe that if Duane Reade is going to promote their brand via Katie Heigl, she should be paid for this photo to be used as advertising.

Sidyarth Garimall said...

I am not sure I buy the argument of celebrities being public figures, because I don't think they necessarily choose it. Sure Katie Heigl wants to be successful in the film industry, but does that equal a desire to have all revocation of privacy? Ultimately I feel that Heigl's privacy was violated, she didn't ask to have her picture taken and associated with Duane Reade.

Shealyn Kilroy said...

I believe the photo is used as fair game, especially because she is a famous actress; however, I do see a problem with the way Duane Reade used it. The tweet states that Heigl "can't resist" shopping there....she's just carrying bags; that's not a direct quote so why are they acting like it's her opinion? That's how I saw it. I think Duane Reade is inappropriately using her photo. The photo would be more appropriate if they said something a long the lines of "Oh hey, Heigl shops here." Either way, I don't think her argument that the photo is a invasion of privacy is valid because she puts her face in movies but she could sue Reade for saying she "can't resist shopping" because she never said that.

Anonymous said...

It's similar to what fashion designers do. If they see a celebrity wearing one of their designs, they'll post a picture and say "This person in this designer name." I agree with Shealyn Kilroy. It depends the context of what's being said in the message. For this instance with Duane Reade and Katherine Heigl, the wording in the tweet makes it sound like it's something she loves and can't get enough of. Where as for clothes, it's your clear choice to wear what you're wearing. For a convenience store like Duane Reade to do this is a bit questionable. She might have had limited time and Duane Reade was the only option for her to get what she needed to. It's kind of exploiting her in a way.

- Elizabeth Vo

Michelle Bresnahan said...

Suing the drugstore is taking it a bit too far, I would have to say. Katherine Heigl is, indeed, a publicly known figure. If she were out and about, I too, would take a picture of her and most likely post it on a social media site.

The drugstore was probably elated to have her shop there and harmlessly decided to share the photo. So what if they were using this photo to gain popularity? People are not necessarily going to run to that specific drugstore just because Heigl was there.

Sure, it's cool a celebrity went to a local drugstore in that area, but celebrities have been to many other places as well that most of the population has been to. one simple tweet of Katherine Heigl at this drugstore is completely harmless and, honestly, I am disappointed that she sued. Now it appears, in my eyes, that Heigl is just plain old money-hungry. Instead of being upset with the drugstore, lighten up Heigl, you have admirers. You shop at a drugstore like everyone else, who cares?

Now if a fan, or say myself, were to post this picture, I highly doubt that we would be sued, because we would be considered "typical fans."

Heigl would not sue a typical fan because we are not promoting anything, but simply promoting, Heigl, herself.

This dilemma is simply silly.