8:20pm PT by Debbie Emery
Jennifer Love Hewitt Sues 'Shark Tank' Alum for Using Her Image
Jennifer Love Hewitt has filed a lawsuit against a company that was featured on Shark Tank, claiming that it used her likeness to promote a weight loss product without her permission.
The complaint filed Wednesday at the Superior Court of Los Angeles claims that The Marz Group has violated Hewitt's publicity rights by using her photograph since March 2014 to endorse Slim Spray, a line of oral weight loss supplements, energy boosters and sleep aids.
Read the full complaint here.
"A large portion of the Defendant's marketing campaign hinges on the exploitation of celebrities," states the lawsuit.
The actress' attorneys sent a cease and desist letter on March 17 to the company, which responded claiming that third parties receiving its products were then instructed to stop using Hewitt's image. However, her image was allegedly seen on a company promotional email on May 7.
Hewitt is now seeking to stop the unauthorized use of her photographs and likeness. She also demands actual damages plus attorney's fees and litigation costs.
The lawsuit points out that when the company appeared on ABC's Shark Tank, one of the investor hosts said, "But you realize how stupid this sounds, right? It's a scam…I mean it's a hustle."
Unfazed by the negative reviews of the product,"the Defendant attempted to gain household recognition by exploiting the fame of Hollywood celebrities," according to the complaint.
Marz Sprays' products were featured in season four of Shark Tank, in an episode that aired in June 2013.
Hewitt is represented by Alex M. Weingarten and Leslie A. Eggers of Weingarten Brown LLP.
A rep for Marz Sprays responds, "We find this lawsuit hard to swallow given that Ms. Hewitt came to a gifting suite that MarzSprays attended, asked us extensively about our Oral Spray... We legally purchased all of the images of celebrities that attended the gifting suite. In fact, we received a dozen images of Ms. Hewitt reading the ingredients and talking to our employees about the benefits of our products, all of which she posed for. If she didn’t want her image to be used, it’s odd she would attend a gifting suite where she then posed for the camera a dozen times with our products."