Katherine Heigl slams drug store chain with $6 million lawsuit over tweet

Katherine Heigl.
Alessio Botticelli / Getty Images Contributor

Katherine Heigl may shop at Duane Reade, but she doesn't want to be the uncompensated face for the drug stores. The former "Grey's Anatomy" actress launched a suit Wednesday against the chain, claiming that owner Walgreen Co. used her name and picture to promote the store without her permission.

How did they do that? In a tweet, of Heigl emerging from a New York City Duane Reade and carrying two of their signature bags. 

The offending tweet, which is still appearing in Duane Reade's Twitter feed as of Thursday, reads: "Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl can't resist shopping #NYC's favorite drugstore"



The post then includes the paparazzi photograph of the actress, who according to a Just Jared item visited the store on March 16. 

The court documents were a topic of conversation between Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on TODAY Thursday. Gifford quoted the claim, which asserted that the "use of Plaintiff's image under these circumstances improperly exploited Plaintiff's name and likeness, as a celebrity, for Defendant's commercial advertising without authorization."

Gifford also noted that Heigl's team repeatedly asked for the photo to be taken off of Twitter.

The documents say that Heigl is "a highly successful television and motion picture actress, producer and celebrity" who "continues to be in high demand in the entertainment industry." That means if you use her famous name or face, you should be expected to pay for it. 

Kotb weighed in, saying "Here’s the rule about TV news," she said. "If you’re in public and someone shoots a picture of you they can use that photo. You are in the public area. You are not in your house … you are out walking on the street."

Heigl's suit was filed in federal court in Manhattan, and indicates she would donate any money she receives from the suit to the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, which helps find homes for dogs.

Representatives for Duane Reade and Katherine Heigl did not immediately respond to requests for comment.