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Former fashion model Gita Hall May, 79, files lawsuit against Lionsgate Entertainment for unauthorized use of her old photo in 'Mad Men' opening credits

By Markirah Shaw,

On Mar. 1, former top model Gita Hall May filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court against Lionsgate Entertainment for using a decades-old image of her in the opening credits of the TV show Mad Men without her consent.

The image in question was shot by fashion photographer Richard Avedon in the early 1960s to be used in a Revlon cosmetics ad. Deadline reports that Lionsgate Entertainment allegedly cropped out May’s face and then “inserted [it] as a key element in the title sequence of [Mad Men] without her consent and for commercial purposes.”

The Hollywood Reporter explained why May filed a lawsuit today even though Mad Men premiered on the AMC network in 2007. May claims that because she doesn’t have cable TV, she only just became aware of her image in the show’s opening credits in 2012.

The period drama series won an Emmy in 2008 for Outstanding Main Title Design, which follows a man free falling from a high rise building while iconic imagery from the 1960s is projected on the windows behind him. May’s contested image can be seen halfway through the 30-second sequence: a close up of May’s ruby-lipped, sultry-eyed face with a lock of brown hair curled just so over her left eye is shown at the point of Scott Hornbacher’s producer credit.

May is suing Lionsgate Entertainment for the compensation that is allegedly owed her for “the value her image contributed to their property and the revenues that her image contributed to their profit,” which her lawyer estimates is around $1 billion.

 

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