American Apparel pays Woody Allen $5m in settlement

The clothing company used his image without permission

Woody Allen has been spared a potentially embarrassing trial after he agreed to a $5 million (£3.3 million) settlement in a copyright lawsuit against the American Apparel clothing retailer.
 
The American actor and director had demanded $10 million from American Apparel after it used an unauthorised picture of him dressed as a Hasidic Jew in its billboard and online advertising.

The case was about to come to trial in Manhattan when Allen, 72, and Dov Charney, American Apparel’s president, reached a settlement.
 
Mr Charney, who had thought up the advertisement, which featured a picture of Allen taken from the film Annie Hall, refused to apologise and said the case had been about ‘the dignity of ideas’.

Reading from a statement outside court, Allen said he hoped the outcome ‘would discourage American Apparel or anyone else from ever trying such a thing again’.

American Apparel’s lawyers had originally threatened to bring up Allen’s controversial private life – particularly his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter, of his former girlfriend, Mia Farrow – as evidence that his public image was not worth as much as he claimed.

Mr Charney, an eccentric entrepreneur who has himself faced several sexual harassment claims from former staff, had subsequently claimed that Allen was an inspiration for him.

He insisted his company ‘would never try to malign the dignity of Mr Allen’. He added: ‘I have respect for Mr Allen … I hope to meet him on more friendly terms at a different point.’

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