Senior Editor
04.16.09 23 Comments

What a coincidence, I used to play Pop Warner with a guy we called Tank Thong.

Backstory: Last year, American Apparel used Woody Allen’s picture in an ad without permission.  Allen sued them for $10 mil.  American Apparel, no doubt aware that they don’t have much of a case, used a novel “we can’t damage his reputation because people already think he’s a pervert defense,” most likely more as a deterrent for Allen than as an actual defense.  It’s kind of like trying to get a rape victim to drop the charges by threatening to devote all your energies to proving she’s a slut by calling to the stand all the dudes she’s banged.  Or saying, “I would never rape her – she’s ugly.”  Not surprisingly, Allen is now accusing American Apparel of harassment.

In papers filed Wednesday by his lawyers, the 73-year-old Allen said American Apparel Inc. went too far in requesting information about his family life, personal finances and career.

The new court papers said American Apparel has “adopted a `scorched earth’ approach,” issuing broad document requests and subpoenas to many people close to him, including his sister.

Allen’s lawyers said the company was seeking to “tarnish Mr. Allen’s reputation a second time” and called it a “despicable effort to intimate” him.

Allen also said ads shown to him by American apparel, including his rabbi ad, “have a sleazy quality to them” and were “not classy.”

This is a tough case.  You clearly can’t use someone’s image without their permission in your advertising.  On the other hand, a picture of Woody Allen dressed like a Hasidic Jew is definitely not worth $10 million.  I think the judge should take a page from Solomon, and give both parties swords, and whoever can cut a baby in half the fastest wins.  Because the bible says so, you see.

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