Cuthbert (real name Kelly Steinbach) is suing Fiji Water Company and The Wonderful Company. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims a cardboard cutout marketing campaign was created the day after the Golden Globes using her image without authorization. They companies contacted her agent, but a cardboard cutout had already appeared in a Bristol Farms store in West Hollywood.
Cuthbert became instantly iconic at the Globes. Dressed in blue, she positioned herself on the Globes red carpet so that she appeared in many red carpet shots holding a tray of water. Her coy smile captivated the online community and she became a meme sensation, Photoshopped into many unlikely situations.
The legal papers contend Fiji attempted to entice Cuthbert with gifts to give away her rights. then turned up the heat and “pressured Steinbach into video recording a fake signing of a fake document to simulate Steinbach signing on as a Fiji Water Ambassador.” The papers were not an agreement and, the suit claims, were later destroyed by Cuthbert.
The suit asks for monetary damages for use of the cardboard cutouts and asks that their use be discontinued. Cuthbert is allegedly fielding offers and has appeared this week at the Super Bowl as a reporter. She also recently did a one day guest star turn on The Bold and the Beautiful soap opera.
Fiji Water issued a statement on the lawsuit. “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.”