Lindsay Lohan loses lawsuit over 'Grand Theft Auto V' character 'likeness'
The Grand Theft Auto series has a reputation for being those video games where you go on a rampage and try to get away from the cops. And that's definitely a lot of fun. But there's more to it than that. It's a satire of American society. Sure, you rob banks, steal cars and assassinate people, but the world and the characters cleverly comment on contemporary life.
However, Lindsay Lohan thinks Grand Theft Auto V went beyond satire, and totally stole her image. In fact, she sued Take-Two Interactive Software, who owns Rockstar Games, claiming they stole her likeness for two loading screens, and the character of Lacey Jonas.
Grand Theft Auto V takes place in the fictional city of San Andreas, which is really Los Angeles, complete with Venice Beach, Griffith Park, Beverly Hills and Hollywood. As such, there are a lot of side missions that involve the entertainment industry, and one of them involves taking paparazzi photos of celebrities. One popular young star is Lacey Jonas, an image-conscious, anorexic actress famous for her work in high school movies. One photo of her can get six figures from the tabloids, who mock her by calling her 'Emacy,' for 'emaciated.' In the game, the player helps Lacey hide from the paparazzi. She is a minor character out of hundreds.
However,the New York Court Of Appeals decided that satirical representations of a young woman - for Lacey Jonas and in the two loading screens - are not identifiable as the Mean Girls star. In his ruling, Judge Eugene Fahey wrote there the artistic renderings are indistinct:
"The Jonas character simply is not recognizable as plaintiff inasmuch as it merely is a generic artistic depiction of a 'twenty something' woman without any particular identifying physical characteristics.
"The analysis with respect to the Beach Weather and Stop and Frisk illustrations is the same. Those artistic renderings are indistinct, satirical representations of the style, look, and persona of a modern, beach-going young woman."
In fact, Rockstar Games used a different woman's image for the Beach Weather and Stop and Frisk Illustrations: British-American model and journalist Shelby Welinder. Before the ruling, she came forward to show her payslip to prove she was employed. I mean, the cover art doesn't even look like Lohan. Does she think every scantily clad women is based on her? She might as well try to claim all the ladies in the strip club stole her image too.
While Lindsay Lohan probably served some inspiration for the Lacey Jonas character, you could say the same for countless young actresses. As the judge said, it is a satirical depiction of a generic archetype. Maybe in Grand Theft Auto VI, they'll bring back the Lacey Jonas character, as a miserable, washed-up star, who nobody obsesses over anymore, and files ridiculous lawsuits against video games.