This year's Golden Globes had one breakout star and she wasn't even attending the show. The Fiji Water girl became the undeniable icon of the 2019 ceremony after her inadvertent photo bombs went viral, becoming the biggest meme of the evening. Now, though, she's completely over it and model Kelleth Cuthbert — who photogenically carried a tray of bottled water on the red carpet — is suing Fiji Water for using her image in a marketing campaign.
If you've been to the grocery store since the Golden Globes, you may have seen a cardboard cutout of her statuesque pose that ended up sneaking into so many celebrities' red carpet photos. Cuthbert — whose legal name is actually Kelly Steinbach — has seen it, and she isn't happy about it. Apparently the Fiji Water Girl officially filed a lawsuit against the Fiji Water Company and The Wonderful Company for profiting off her image without consent.
In her lawsuit, she accuses the companies of “intentionally creat[ing] cardboard cutouts of [her] for use in a cardboard cutout marketing campaign," per The Blast. Furthermore, she says Fiji “pressured [her] into video recording a fake signing of a fake document to simulate [her] signing on as a Fiji Water Ambassador.” It gets weirder: that fake document was eventually ripped up by Cuthbert, so now there is allegedly no evidence of an agreement that says she allowed Fiji to use her image. She's calling for a portion of Fiji's estimated $12 million worth of brand exposure and the end of their marketing campaign with cutouts.
— AB (@ABDaleyy) January 7, 2019
In a statement to People, Fiji said “This lawsuit is frivolous and entirely without merit. After the Golden Globes social media moment, we negotiated a generous agreement with Ms. Cuthbert that she blatantly violated. We are confident that we will prevail in Court. Throughout our history, we have had a sterling reputation working with talent.”
It actually took awhile for Fiji Water Girl realized she had become a meme, as she didn't have access to her phone while on the red carpet. “I felt very cut off from everything," she told People. "I didn’t find out until the last stragglers of the red carpet were heading into the awards ceremony, and all these people walking by started shoving their phones in my face and showing me that I was trending on Twitter, but I didn’t understand the magnitude of it till later.” On the bright side, Cuthbert's face is now unforgettable — and there are plenty of worse things to be remembered for.
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