The lawsuit by Woody Allen, discussed earlier, has been settled on the eve of the trial by American Apparel. The clothing manufacturer for using an image of Allen from the 1977 movie “Annie Hall” on billboards without his permission. While American Apparel argued that Allen’s value as a sponsor was virtually worthless due to his personal scandal involving his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn. The company paid $5 million to settle the claim — half of what Allen demanded and a handsome sum for such a case given the short-lived advertisement campaign.
Dov Charney, its founder and chief executive, insisted that he was eager to go to trial and that the insurance company forced the settlement. He invoked free speech in a campaigned “designed to inspire dialogue” and suggested that Allen was hypocritical in his position: “My intention was to call upon people to see beyond media — and lawsuit-inspired scandal, and to consider people for their true value and for their contribution to society. I appreciate Woody Allen’s work, but I also appreciate the First Amendment. Let’s not forget that Woody Allen himself has referenced many public figures over the course of his long career, often for the purpose of parody, such as Fidel Castro in the movie ‘Bananas.’ ”
Allen lashed out at the company: “Threats and press leaks by American Apparel designed to smear me did not work, and a scheme to call a long list of witnesses who had absolutely nothing to do with the case was also disallowed by the court. . . I suspect this dose of legal reality led to their 11th-hour settlement,.”
The company had threatened to bring up Mr. Allen’s affair with Ms. Previn, whom he married in 1997 — the adopted daughter of his former companion, Mia Farrow.
The settlement literally came hours before the start of the trial, proving that Allen was right when he said “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
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