Remember that "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a woman" video that depicted a woman walking through New York while being cat called by men? It featured a woman named Shoshanna Roberts and was produced by Rob Bliss and was created to show, as explained by Bliss, "what street harassment looked like without bias, judge or messaging."
Recently, Bliss licensed the video to an ad agency, Made Movement, which used the footage to create an ad for TGI Fridays. In the ad, TGI Fridays appetizers are superimposed over Robert's image. The joke being that the heckling men are now showing their love for the appetizers. It's sort of like a bunch of fifth grade boys got together in the bathroom during lunch and hatched the idea. It's as crass as crass gets.
Roberts was not pleased and filed a lawsuit against Bliss seeking $500,000 and claiming the new ad made her feel "humiliated" and "belittled women." She also noted that the ad falsely implied she endorsed the products in the ad.
Summarizing the claim, U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams wrote, "(Roberts alleges that although she 'was happy to promote the original video and its message, all of that changed when she suddenly learned that Bliss, Made Movement and TGI Friday's had modified her image by superimposing French fries and mozzarella sticks over her face and using her creative content to advertise their appetizers, that she approved of the message contained in the ads and that she implicitly endorsed TGI Friday's appetizer.'"
Ultimately, Abrams ruled in favor of Bliss noting that "The advertisement is a clear parody of 10 Hours, and in no ways suggests that Roberts was championing the product used to mock the video for its own commercial benefit."
Defending his position, Bliss wrote on his Facebook page, "Her likeness was used in a TGI Friday's ad which parodied my video (just as dozens of other parodies had done as well). It made no sense though, because not a single pixel of her or her likeness appeared, only my footage, so how in the world could I be 'using her likeness?'"
It's true that Roberts' likeness is nowhere to be seen in the ad though with the original PSA receiving upwards of 41 million views, it's certainly conceivable a viewer could make a connection.
Responding to the finding, Roberts said, "When people google my name they'll see this frivolous lawsuit but never the dismissal. All you can do is take it on the chin. Man can someone update the 10 Hours of Walking wikipedia page for me?"