Celebrity face-off: Woody Allen to meet fashion exec in court
By Jason Fink
In a highly anticipated showdown featuring two celebrities with a history of embarrassing tabloid escapades, filmmaker Woody Allen's lawsuit against Dov Charneys clothing company American Apparel is set to begin Monday in Manhattan.
Allen, a New York icon with dozens of films to his credit, is seeking $10 million from the company for the unauthorized use of his image - a still from the movie Annie Hall - on a billboard two years ago.
Charney, whose history of alleged sexual indiscretions has stirred up considerable controversy, shot down reports that he would call to the stand Allen's former partner Mia Farrow and his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, who was Allen's stepdaughter when their relationship began.In suing American Apparel for using his photo without permission, Allen labeled the company's ads - which often feature scantily clad models - sleazy and infantile.
An attorney for American Apparel, Stuart Slotnick, initially indicated he would bring up Allen's past in an effort to show the director's reputation was already damaged - and therefore not worth $10 million - when the ads went up in May 2007 in New York and Los Angeles.
But last week, Slotnick said neither Farrow nor Previn would be called.
This case is centered on freedoms provided by the First Amendment, he said. At trial, American Apparel will explain how the images . . . were used to make a social statement and address social issues.
Allen's lawyer did not return a call seeking comment.
Charney is expected to argue that the photo - in which Allen's character appears as a Hasidic Jew in the eyes of his girlfriend's family - was meant to be commentary on Charney's own reputation and the misperceptions people have about him.
Charney has been sued several times for sexual harassment, has reportedly conducted job interviews in his underwear and openly dates employees.