Urban Outfitters, photographer Jason Lee Parry and two other stores are being sued by the parents of 16-year-old model Hailey Clauson over a t-shirt featuring a sexually suggestive image of the teen with her legs spread in a provocative pose. The parents are seeking $28 million in damages and claim that they did not give permission for the photographs taken in March 2010 to be used on t-shirts and other apparel.
Forum members seem to agree that the photographs are overly provocative but many of them are questioning the validity of the lawsuit brought forth by Hailey's parents. Modela vocalized what seemed to be a popular consensus. “They didn't mind their daughter being photographed in that manner in the first place, so why start bitching about it?” she asked. “It seems to me that they are pissed that they are not making any money off it.”
“Who are they going to sue next?” asked Ochi Chernye. “The agency for allowing the shoot to take place? In my opinion, the poor judgment lies on the parents. Their daughter was underage and they consented to the shoot. They clearly didn't mind the sexualized nature of the shoot back then. Why do they care about it now? Because it's on a t-shirt? Please, the [photographs] were probably seen by more people online.”
Psylocke was one of the few people who agreed with Hailey's parents' actions. She wrote, “I always thought that photo shoot was super creepy and I think most people in Hailey's thread agreed. Glad her parents are doing something about it. Hailey's natural sex appeal in spite of her age is undeniable but that doesn't mean photographers and clients have any right to exploit that.”
Even if the parents are justified in their lawsuit, the way they are going about it doesn't sit well with forum members. Agee explained her take: “I think that had the parents gone the cease and desist route and focused on the unauthorized part and also not sought damages or not sought such a ridiculous amount, then they would not getting this backlash, but as others have stated, it comes off as the parents have an issue with the nature of the images in addition to its distribution when phrases like 'posed in a blatantly salacious manner' and 'the image may portray a child in a sexually suggestive manner and may be in violation of one or more federal and/or state laws,' are part of the complaint. If that was the case then those issues should have been their issues regardless of whether the pictures were on a t-shirt or in a fashion editorial, so as others have said they are coming off as being selective about when they cry foul. It just does not pass the smell test because a parent was supposedly on set, this photographer is known for doing images of this nature and that information was easily obtainable, the overall photo shoot had a 'little girl gone bad' vibe, Hailey has done sexy stuff before and these images or outtakes were posted on her personal site.”
I highly doubt Hailey's parents will be walking away from this lawsuit with $28 million, but it's clear that something stinks about this whole situation. There are a lot of people claiming they didn't know they were doing anything wrong, but surely someone is lying and this mess has blown up into epic proportions. My guess is that some sort of settlement will be agreed upon and the t-shirts will cease to exist. Maybe Urban Outfitters and Hailey herself will even get a boost from this – any sort of press is good press, right?