Two New Jersey strip clubs are facing suits from women whose photos were posted on the clubs’ websites and social media pages without their consent.
Cheerleaders New Jersey Gentlemen’s Club in Gloucester City was sued in federal court by three women on Aug. 10, and Bare Den Adult Cabaret in Newton was sued by four women on Thursday. The plaintiffs are models and actresses who claim the clubs misappropriated their images in a manner that falsely suggests they are affiliated with those establishments.
The defendants used the plaintiffs’ photos without permission, deriving profits from the association while the plaintiffs’ reputations diminished in value as a result of the unauthorized use, the suits claim. The plaintiffs bring claims for misappropriation of likeness and unfair competition and seek compensatory and punitive damages and costs of suit.
Plaintiffs are represented by lawyers from the Encino, California, office of Baron & Budd as well as Boucher LLP in Woodland Hills, California.
The Bare Den allegedly posted one photo each of plaintiffs Jessa Hinton, Eva Pepaj and Carissa Rosario on its Facebook page and eight photos of plaintiff Tiffany Toth on its Facebook and Instagram pages, the suit claims. The Cheerleaders New Jersey complaint includes exhibits showing one photo each of plaintiffs Sara Underwood, Lucy Pinder and Cora Skinner on the club’s Facebook page.
One plaintiff, Underwood, was a 2007 Playboy Playmate of the Year and she has 4.7 million followers on Facebook, her suit claims. Skinner has also appeared in Playboy and has acted in “CSI: Miami” and “The Office” and has appeared in ads for GUESS and Nordstrom, according to the complaint. Pinder is described in the complaint as one of Britain’s most famous glamor models and has appeared in ad campaigns for Unilever and the United Kingdom’s national lottery. Toth was Playboy Playmate of the Month in September 2011, according to her website.
Several of the plaintiffs in the New Jersey suits have filed similar cases against adult establishments in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and in Texas and Florida.
“Each plaintiff is, and at all times mentioned herein was, a professional model and actress who earns a living by commercializing her identity, image and likeness for many business endeavors, including the advertisement and promotion of products and services through negotiated, arms-length transactions with reputable commercial brands and companies. Defendant has brazenly and repeatedly, without consent, misappropriated plaintiffs’ images and likenesses for use in its advertising materials produced to market and promote its strip club,” the suit claims.
Representatives of Cheerleaders New Jersey Gentleman’s Club and Bare Den Adult Cabaret did not respond to messages from a reporter. Roland Tellis and Jonas Mann of Baron & Budd and Raymount Boucher and Brian Bush of Boucher LLC, the plaintiffs’ lawyers, did not respond to calls about the suits.
No appearances have been entered by defense counsel on behalf of the clubs in any of the lawsuits.