TAMPA — Tampa strip club Thee Dollhouse used photos of professional models to drum up business without permission, according to a new lawsuit filed by three women, who say they don't want to be tied to a "salacious" industry.
The lawsuit, filed last week in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, alleges that Thee Dollhouse posted photos of the three women on its Facebook page and printed a photo of at least one of them on a promotional flier.
The women say they would have charged the strip club $280,000 for the right to use their photos. They are seeking unspecified damages.
Thee Dollhouse declined to comment on the allegations. Becky Derry, who works for the club's owner, JB Management of Tampa, said the company wasn't aware of the lawsuit.
The models' attorney, Miami lawyer Sarah Cabarcas, couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
The lawsuit says the models, Ashley Ann Vickers of Manalapan, Jessica Hinton of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Hillary Fisher Vinson of New York City, have successful modeling careers.
They've built large followings on social media, been featured in ad campaigns, hosted TV shows and worked for organizations like NASCAR and the Memphis Grizzlies basketball team. Vinson, 34, says she was Miss Playboy Club of the year in 2011 and appeared in a Rascal Flatts music video. Hinton, 31, was Playboy's Playmate of the Month in July 2011.
Being connected to Thee Dollhouse and "the salacious nature of the industry" could hurt their reputations, they say.
"(The women) have worked extremely hard for years in order to establish themselves as reliable, reputable, and professional models," the lawsuit says.
The posts on Thee Dollhouse's Facebook page started in May 2013 and stretched through October 2014, according to the lawsuit. The women sent a letter demanding payment in August.
This isn't the first time a strip club in Florida has been accused of misusing photos.
Cabarcas is representing nine women in a separate lawsuit that alleges a strip club owner in Palm Beach County used their photos without permission. That case, filed in August, is still pending.
Contact Thad Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3434. Follow @thadmoore.