Fiji Water says lawsuit by model Kelleth Cuthbert, whose images on the red carpet went viral, is ‘frivolous’ and ‘without merit’
Forget Glenn Close. Ignore Sandra Oh. The real breakout star of this year’s Golden Globe awards was – without question – the Fiji Water girl, the hostess who stole attention from A-listers in a series of red carpet snaps.
Since then, bottle profferer Kelleth Cuthbert has picked up work promoting dog food in similar style and a waitressing cameo on daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful.
However, relations between Cuthbert and the company which propelled her to fame have become strained, and the former is now suing the latter for “the unauthorized use of [her] photograph, likeness and identity”, according to court documents obtained by E! News.
Cuthbert claims Fiji Water used her image as the key part of a global marketing campaign following the Globes, but that she did not “sign away her rights to ‘Fiji Water Girl’” as the brand allegedly attempted to get her to agree to. Cuthbert goes on to allege that they attempted to pressure her into a signing a “fake document” authorising the use of her image.
A spokesperson for Fiji Water 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.”
Cuthbert credited her time modelling – and the environment in which she found herself – with the prodigious photobombs. “No matter where you move, you’re in somebody’s shot,” she told the Cut. “I think from so many years of modelling, when I hear a shutter, I just kind of give a face.”