1950s model Gita Hall May suing 'Mad Men' over image in opening credits
All of Mad Men’s fan base is eagerly awaiting the April 7 return of the AMC show, but don’t be surprised if the opening credits look slightly different. A model from the 1950s has sued the show for using her image without her permission. You’d thinking she wouldn’t be surprised at the show’s treatment of women.
Gita Hall May, now 79, is suing Lions Gate Entertainment for pasting her likeness from an old Revlon ad on one of the buildings the silhouetted ad exec passes on his way down to Madison Avenue in the credits. The suit was filed Friday in L.A.
“I was completely shocked. My granddaughter Camila showed me the clip and I was honestly surprised as I had not seen that photo in so many years,” Hall May told Fox News. “I shot that particular Revlon ad in 1957 or ’58.” She added the image was taken by Richard Avedon.
“It’s not that I am unhappy that my photo was associated with the show,” Hall May said. “I am unhappy that no one had the courtesy to ask me if it was okay that they use it. I am very proud of the wonderful career that I was so fortunate to have.”
The lawsuit filed says the image helped the show earn “in excess of $1 billion” and she deserved compensation after producers “intentionally misled the public into believing that Plaintiff endorses Defendants and their products.” Claiming “Defendants have acted with fraud, malice and oppression,” Hall May is demanding statutory and punitive damages, restitution, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees and costs, and the cost of the suit.
“They could have easily found me. All they had to do was Google me,” she told Fox. “Just a few years ago, I had a reality show called Old Skool with Terry and Gita, produced by Bunim/Murray, which appeared in more than 40 countries around the world. I may be old, but I am not dead yet. The fact that I am now 79 years old doesn’t make my life’s work irrelevant.”
This will be the sixth season of the show, which often points out how duplicitous and unfair the advertising game is. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes 50-year-old magazine advertisements to enter public domain. We’re guessing less than 50 years, but we’re not legal experts.