What's Behind Louis Vuitton's Lawsuit Over 'The Hangover 2' Fake Designer Bag?
The French fashion house brings the battle against counterfeiting to Hollywood which may raise awareness of the knock-off industry's human trafficking, child labor, drugs and terrorism links.
Luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton did not appreciate The Hangover 2 one bit. In fact, they're furious over the appearance of a fake LV bag in the raunchy comedy that's made an estimated $581 million worldwide.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the designer label is upset about the scene in which the character played by Zach Galifianakis carries a bag marked LVM and admonishes another character (played by Ed Helms): “Careful, that is.. that is a Louis Vuitton” (pronouncing Louis with the "s").
But Warner Bros. used fakes created by Diophy, a company that produces faux luxury bags, and that Vuitton is already suing. Now LV has also slapped the film studio with a lawsuit for "trademark dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition" in The Hangover 2."
Vuitton is part of LVMH, which also owns luxury brands such as Fendi, Donna Karan, Givenchy, Kenzo, Thomas Pink, Marc Jacobs, Bulgari, Sephora, Le Bon Marche, Tag Heuer, Guerlain and Christian Dior perfume and cosmetics. And LVMH Chairman/CEO Bernard Arnault is the fourth richest man in the world, according to Forbes.
So why all this fuss over a fake designer bag? What's the harm, right? While this may sound like a frivolous suit, it's not.
Warner Bros. may not have understood the ugly realities of counterfeit production. Dana Thomas, author of 'Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster' notes that counterfeiting rakes in approximately $600 billion a year and the secretive and corrupt industry supports human trafficking, prostitution, child labor, gang warfare, drug smuggling and money laundering linked to global terrorism.
In a particularly horrifying passage from 'Deluxe', Thomas recalls: "'I remember walking into an assembly plant in Thailand a couple of years ago and seeing six or seven little children, all under 10 years old, sitting on the floor assembling counterfeit leather handbags,' an investigator told me... 'The owners had broken the children's legs and tied the lower leg to the thigh so the bones wouldn't mend. [They] did it because the children said they wanted to go outside and play."