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Forever 21 responds to Ariana Grande's lawsuit over 'look-alike' model

Ariana Grande is suing the popular store for allegedly using her "likeness."
Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for $10 million.
Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for $10 million.Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Earlier this week, Ariana Grande filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 for allegedly using a look-alike model without her consent.

Now, the popular retailer is responding to the singer's claims that they "stole her name, likeness, and other intellectual property to promote their brands for free."

In a statement to TODAY Style, Forever 21 addressed the lawsuit and the $10 million Grande is seeking: “Forever 21 does not comment on pending litigation as per company policy. That said, while we dispute the allegations, we are huge supporters of Ariana Grande and have worked with her licensing company over the past two years. We are hopeful that we will find a mutually agreeable resolution and can continue to work together in the future."

According to court documents, Forever 21 approached the pop singer about a possible endorsement deal centered around social media marketing in December 2018. Negotiations between Grande's team and the retailer "never came to fruition because the amounts that Forever 21 offered to pay for the right to use Ms. Grande’s name and likeness were insufficient for an artist of her stature."

As it turns out, a single Instagram post from Grande is worth upward of six figures and a more extensive endorsement deal or marketing campaign can earn much more.

The lawsuit alleges that when negotiations fell through, Forever 21 hired a look-alike model for the social media campaign and dressed her in clothing/hairstyles that resemble Grande.

Image: Picture of a model on the Instagram account of fashion retailer Forever 21 is seen alongside an image of pop star Ariana Grande
A picture of a model on Forever 21 Instagram account is seen alongside an image of Ariana Grande from the legal complaint.Reuters

The model also allegedly struck a signature Grande pose in the campaign.

Ariana Grande Forever 21
The lawsuit alleges that the model is re-creating the pop star's signature pose. Reuters

"The resemblance is uncanny and Forever 21's intent was clear: to suggest to the viewing public that Ms. Grande endorsed Forever 21, its products, and was affiliated with Forever 21," the document reads.

In addition, Grande claims Forever 21 played her song "7 Rings" in the background of the post.

Ariana Grande Forever 21
A logo from a music video by pop star Ariana Grande is seen next to a picture of a model on the Forever 21 Instagram account.Reuters

"Rather than pay for that right as the law requires, Defendants simply stole it by launching a misleading campaign across its website and social media platforms primarily in January and February 2019," the complaint reads. "The campaign capitalized on the concurrent success of Ms. Grande’s album Thank U, Next by publishing at least 30 unauthorized images and videos misappropriating Ms. Grande’s name, image, likeness, and music in order to create the false perception of her endorsement."

Image: Pictures of pop star Ariana Grande on the Instagram account of youth fashion retailer Forever 21 are seen in a screenshot of a legal complaint
Pictures of Ariana Grande as seen on the Forever 21 Instagram were included in the legal complaint.Reuters

When Grande came across the campaign, her team promptly asked Forever 21 to remove it. The lawsuit alleges Forever 21 "misappropriated and profited from Ms. Grande's influence and star-power for approximately 14 weeks."

TODAY Style reached out to Grande's lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli at O'Melveny, for comment but has not heard back.