Liongsate is in a bit of hot water over an image that is used in the opening credits for its Emmy-winning drama Mad Men. According to popular 1950’s and 1960’s model Gita Hall May, the series’ opening credits use an image of her, taken from a photograph by Richard Avedon for a Revlon hairspray ad, but they never got her consent. She says that the image has been cropped from the photography, which was taken in the 1950’s. In the suit, May is seeking unspecified damages “suffered as a result of the unauthorized use” of her likeness.
The complaint reads, “The Main Titles were integral to the success of Mad Men,” and says that the producers “have generated income in excess of $1 billion through exploitation of the series and its episodes.” The opening credits for Mad Men are not produced by Lionsgate, but by Imaginary Forced. Mark Garnder and Steve Fuller are credited as the directors of the main title, with Jeremy Cox and Joey Salim credited as designers. In 2008, the opening credits for Mad Men won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Design.
The suit continues, saying that “May’s likeness appears more prominently and directly than any other image in that sequence and in the Pilot directly opposite the credit for the program’s Producer.” May, who does not watch the cable series, only became aware that her image was being used last May. Lionsgate has yet to issue a comment.