Dozens of professional models are suing nine strip clubs in Iowa for allegedly using unauthorized images of their bodies and faces in online advertisements.
The plaintiffs in each case, hailing from Ireland, Great Britain, Colombia, and the United States, differ. However, both the BMK Law Firm of Pella and the Aronowitz Law Firm of Royal Oak, Mich, representing the plaintiffs, have initiated federal lawsuits against all the Iowa clubs, claiming identical underlying circumstances.
The clubs being sued are Waterloo in Flirts and Davenport in Daisy Dooks, Des Moines in Minx Show Palace, the Lumberyard II, and the Lumberyard, Des Moines in Big Earl’s Goldmine, West Des Moines in Beach Girls, Waterloo in Risque Gentlemen’s Club, and Jackson County in rural New Shakers.
The lawsuits, each filed on the same day in U.S. District Court, seek compensation, damages and an injunction against the clubs’ owners.
Flirts, the renowned establishment in Waterloo, faces a major lawsuit due to the high number of plaintiffs involved. Supposedly, 16 experienced models claim that the proprietors have consistently utilized their images to advertise Flirts on various social media platforms, even though they have never set foot in the club and have “absolutely no previous connection” with Flirts.
The plaintiffs claim that Flirts’ advertisements on its Facebook page use their likenesses to promote or suggest that they have at least agreed to promote the club or performed in some capacity, since promoting their modeling services in the market or obtaining work can be more difficult, thereby potentially harming their brands and reputations by discrediting and defaming them.
According to the lawsuit, Flirts promotes itself as the “most popular Gentlemen’s Club in Cedar Valley” and offers a VIP membership program that ensures exclusive access to any desired dancer. In addition to serving alcoholic beverages, the club provides entertainment through nude or semi-nude performers, offering a pleasurable experience with attractive and exotic female dancers.
The plaintiffs allege that advertisements in the Flirts club, suggesting that partially or fully undressed women are involved in the activities, entertainment, and live nude shows, are damaging.
The models argue that the club is simultaneously competing with the plaintiffs for the exact consumer attention that adds to the economic worth of the plaintiffs’ images.
The lawsuit alleges that the club has gained a significant following on social media by cultivating a substantial public presence and celebrity status, while wrongfully taking ownership of the attention-generating qualities and consumer goodwill of the plaintiffs. The models claim in their petition that they have individually attained a degree of fame and public prominence due to their distinctive physical looks and attractiveness.
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, fair market value compensation for the use of their likenesses, and a permanent injunction, which would prevent the club from using the disputed images again.