What a turn of events. The scene-stealing Fiji Water girl who photobombed Hollywood stars at the 76th annual Golden Globes is suing the company that sparked her rise to fame.
According to Hollywood Reporter, Kelleth Cuthbert is now taking legal action against Fiji Water after they turned her photo into a promotional cardboard cutout without her permission. Cuthbert, whose real name is Kelly Steinbach, claims the company asked her “to sign away her rights in the moniker ‘Fiji Water Girl'” and authorize the use of her photo in the campaign, which she claims she did not agree to.
This woman isn't nominated for anything, she's just holding FIJI Water for the celebs on the red carpet whilst milking it for all it's worth and we are living. SERVE IT, QUEEN #GoldenGlobes pic.twitter.com/rqGXnBZQi5
— British GLAMOUR (@GlamourMagUK) January 7, 2019
Allegedly, the model was “pressured” into recording a fake signing, aimed at showing her signing on as a Fiji Water Ambassador. “The fake document Steinbach fake signed in the potential future promotional video was not an agreement,” attorney Kimberly Buffington explained in the complaint. “The fake document was not signed by Fiji Water and was later destroyed by Steinbach.”
A Fiji Water spokesperson refuted Cuthbert’s claims by stating, “This lawsuit is frivolous and entirely without merit. After the Golden Globes social media moment, we negotiated a generous agreement with Ms. Cuthbert that she blatantly violated. We are confident that we will prevail in court. Throughout our history, we have had a sterling reputation working with talent.”
Cuthbert also asserts that ‘Fiji Water Girl’ has generated a minimum of $12 million in exposure for their brand, so the model is looking for “punitive and compensatory damages, plus disgorgement of Fiji Water’s profits,” according to Hollywood Reporter.