CHICAGO — Thirty female models have filed a federal lawsuit against Chicago’s Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club, claiming that it used their photos on Facebook to advertise, promote and market the club without their permission.
Each of the 30 plaintiffs named in the suit have a background rich in social media and commercially exploit their glamourous looks. Included in the list of plaintiffs in the suit filed at Chicago federal court is Carmen Electra, the famous American model, TV personality, singer and dancer.
In 2013, “Electra’s image was uploaded to Atlantis’s Facebook page with intent to promote and market Atlantis strip club,” the lawsuit said. “The caption next to the image of Electra advertised, ‘Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club.’ The use of this image falsely implied that Electra represents Atlantis strip club and that she authorized Atlantis to use her image for promotional and marketing purposes.”
Each of the 30 women allege that AEG Ventures LLC, dba Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club, used their photos, likenesses and identities. As a result, they claim Atlantis violates the Lanham Act and the Illinois Right of Publicity Act.
The club, which serves up full nudity and full liquor (a rarity), opened in 2008 as a “Vegas Style” venue with “elegant entertainers.”
“Much more than merely a misuse in connection with an innocuous brand or event, defendant embarrassed plaintiffs by associating their images with Atlantis,” the suit said.
“In the end, defendant gained an economic windfall by using the images of professional and successful models for defendant own commercial purposes, luring and enticing patrons worldwide to view the images and visit Atlantis, without having to compensate the models for such usage. Plaintiffs, however, sustained injury to their images, brands, and marketability by shear affiliation with Atlantis, [a strip] club.”
The club “is an unapologetic, chronic and habitual infringer,” the 389-page lawsuit said. “Defendant never sought consent or authority to use any of the plaintiffs’ images for any purpose. No plaintiff ever agreed, nor would any plaintiff have agreed, to defendant’s use of her image, likeness, and/or identity.”
Other plaintiffs include models Sara Underwood and Lucy Pinder who, along with Electra, have sued other adult clubs for allegedly poaching photos to make an extra buck.
At XBIZ post time the club’s Facebook page does not resolve. The club did not respond immediately to an email request for comment.