Is it true that a Calexico sex shop made the gossip and paparazzi site, TMZ? The sex shop used a photo of actress Scarlett Johansson in its advertising. Isn’t that illegal? — Hardcore Question, Imperial County
Calexico did in fact make national news last week when TMZ.com reported that Calexico’s VIP Adult Bookstore and Arcade used an image of Scarlett Johansson — better known as “ScarJo” by the Hollywood gossip cognoscenti — on a business card.
The photo image of the actress portrays her in little more than underwear and a jacket staring in a sultry manner at the camera as items such as “lubricantes” and “juguetes” are advertised with “Los Precios más bajos” alongside her.
In all its glory, TMZ.com reported that when they called the store manager he responded that “What does it have to do with the business card? I don’t know who Scarlett Johansson is,” and that the company the store ordered cards from simply added the image when an image was needed.
Celebrity and business wires quickly picked up the story and ran with it, but to the actress’ credit, she simply laughed off the sticky situation.
“I applaud TMZ’s, once again, award-winning investigative journalism for securing the knowledge of my legions of Mexican fans,” she released to E! News in a statement.
An Imperial Valley Press reporter visited the sex shop shortly after the news broke … (pause for punch line) and also used the visit as an opportunity to get her own copy of the card but was disappointed to only find plain business cards on the counter.
Wocka! Wocka! But we digress.
An employee said the store has no manager, but that there were only a few of those cards made with ScarJo on them. He had no idea how the celebrity gossip organization got one, and the store owner declined to comment.
ScarJo isn’t the only actress to find her image used without permission in area advertising recently. Kim Kardashian’s image was used on a Mexicali plastic surgeon’s billboard last month, and she didn’t take it as well, saying she was going to sue Dr. Victor Ramirez.
TMZ.com called the doctor to see if he received Kardashian’s permission and reported that he replied, “Que?” then continued saying, “Obviously I did not speak to Kim Kardashian. I do not have her number.”
Under the Right of Publicity law protected in the state of California and protected in some states as part of the constitutional right of privacy, a person’s name, likeness or other recognizable aspects of one’s persona can’t be used for commercial use without authorization.
Again, wocka! Wocka!