A new lawsuit filed against AMC’s hit show, “Mad Men,” has shown that even iconic opening credits can’t avoid legal troubles. A model whose image appears in the animated sequence has sued the show for using her face without permission.
The model in question, Gita Hall, filed her suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday (March 1). In it, she alleges that the image of her face has helped producer Lionsgate Entertainment earn more than $1 billion in profits. The production company did not, according to the lawsuit, seek Hall’s permission to use the picture and have thus “intentionally misled the public into believing that Plaintiff endorses Defendants and their products.”
The lawsuit seeks statutory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, attorney’s fees and costs, restitution, and the cost of the suit.
During the credit sequence, an animated man (presumably the show’s protagonist, Don Draper) tumbles through a series of classic advertising images that flash through a bleak urban landscape. One of those images is a drawing of a woman’s face, now alleged to be that of Hall. Now 79, Hall worked as a fashion model during the 1950s and 1960s. “Mad Men” won an Emmy for outstanding title sequence design in 2008.
Although there are several drawn faces that flash past during the entire sequence, the contentious image of Hall appears at about the 23-second mark in the video above.
“Mad Men” returns with new episodes on Sunday, April 7 on AMC.