A Philadelphia-area news anchor on Wednesday filed a $10 million lawsuit against Facebook, Reddit, Imgur, Giphy, WCGZ S.R.O. (a porn company), and 10 unnamed defendants (“Does”) for allegedly using an image of her without authorization, including in dating and erectile dysfunction ads.
Karen Hepp is a longtime anchor on Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia alleged that defendants’ “usurpation and unlawful use of her image” and the “unlawful dissemination and publication of her image on various commercial website” has caused “irreparable harm.” Law&Crime is not embedding a copy of the lawsuit nor linking to it because that would expose an address.
According to the lawsuit, the Does in this case are “owners and operators of other websites and/or media outlets,” whose “true names or capacities” are not known. They are believed to have acted as “agents, principals, alter egos, employees, or representatives” of defendants who allegedly participated. The facts of the case state that Hepp found out from her co-workers two years ago that a photo of her was being used in online ads for dating sites and erectile dysfunction. Hepp learned that the photo was taken by a security camera at a New York City convenience store, but did not know where or how this had occurred.
The lawsuit called that the “sexualization” of Hepp’s image and “use for prurient and illicit purposes is abhorrent and disgusting,” to the point that this has caused “serious, permanent and irreparable harm” to Hepp’s reputation.
The lawsuit included multiple exhibits showing the offending image and how it was used online. On a porn site, the image was included among a “MILF gallery” (“Mom I’d Like to…).
The image was used and altered on the GIF site Giphy, the lawsuit said, to show a man “hiding behind a glass commercial freezer door and masturbating — to what would appear, from his perspective, to be the backside of Plaintiff.”
An “NSFW” (not safe for work) Imgur image was posted on the Reddit subreddit r/osbf (“older but still f—able”).
The Imgur image was titled “MILF.”
It appears there was also an image of Hepp in a Facebook-based “Meet Your Girlfriend” sponsored ad.
Hepp is seeking: a jury trial; a preliminary and permanent injunction, requiring the defendants to “immediately” remove her image from their sites; an “accounting of any and all revenue” (profit) the defendants gained from use of the image in question; damages in excess of $10,000,000; attorneys fees, and any other relief the court might decide.
An attorney for Hepp declined to comment at this time.
[Image via YouTube screengrab]