In one of many twists and turns in “Grand Theft Auto V,” set in a fictional state reminiscent of Southern California, a player may come across a character named “Lacey Jonas,” hiding from paparazzi in an alley.
As she jumps into the player’s car, Jonas describes herself as a “really famous” actress and singer, the “voice of a generation” who has starred in both romantic comedies and even a dance-off movie. In other parts of the game, an avatar of a similar-looking blond woman flashes on the screen. She’s wearing large sunglasses and a fedora as she’s frisked by a police officer. At another point she appears wearing a red bikini and jewelry, holding up a peace sign as she snaps a selfie with her cellphone.
The character may sound just like any other materialistic Hollywood celebrity. But for years, Lindsay Lohan has been trying to convince a court that Lacey Jonas is her “look-a-like.”
In 2014, Lohan sued the makers of the game, Take-Two Interactive Software and Rockstar Games, claiming they copied her “bikini, shoulder-length blonde hair, jewelry, cellphone and ‘signature peace sign’ pose.” The Jonas character, Lohan said, misappropriated her “portrait” and “voice,” and the blonde characters evoked her likeness and “persona.”
During oral arguments in February, defense attorney Jeremy Feigelson said that Lohan was “essentially arguing that she owns the peace sign in this case,” Courthouse News Service reported. “I think Winston Churchill would be surprised to hear that.” (For Churchill, it was a victory sign.)
But on Thursday, New York’s top court ruled that the characters didn’t actually look like her. The state Court of Appeals rejected Lohan’s appeal, dismissing her privacy claims and saying the video game characters merely depicted a generic “twenty something” woman.
While the court concluded that a computer generated image may constitute a “portrait” under state civil rights law, the “artistic renderings are indistinct, satirical representations of the style, look, and persona of a modern, beach-going young woman that are not reasonably identifiable,” the court opinion stated.
The dismissal marks another failed legal fight for the “The Parent Trap” and “Mean Girls” actress, whose Hollywood career has been plagued by personal problems, including an arrest, alleged drug use and a stint in rehab.
In fact, in the software companies’ motion to dismiss, their attorneys wrote that Lohan had a “history of misusing the legal system.”
Misuse of the system or not, Lohan has ventured into quite a few courtrooms over the years.
In 2010, she settled a $100 million lawsuit against E-Trade over a Super Bowl commercial featuring a “milkaholic” baby named Lindsay, an ad the actress felt was mocking her various drug and alcohol arrests. E-Trade called the suit “meritless,” saying there are many other Lindsays in this world.
Then there was the lawsuit against rapper Pitbull. Lohan claimed he defamed her by rapping “So, I’m tip-toein’, to keep flowin’, I got it locked up, like Lindsay Lohan.” Not only did Lohan’s 2013 defamation lawsuit fail, but also her lawyers were caught plagiarizing. The actress parted ways with those lawyers, but as Hollywood Reporter pointed out, her new legal team somehow misspelled her first name as “Lindsey” in one court document.
It seems ironic, then, that Lohan has become a spokeswoman for Lawyer.com, a site that connects clients to legal representation.
In a video ad last week announcing Lohan as a new “spokesperson” for the brand, the celebrity pokes fun at her own run-ins with the law.
“When Lawyer.com first reached out to me, I was confused and a little scared because I thought I was in trouble,” Lohan says in the ad, chuckling. “But when they asked me to be their spokesperson, I was intrigued.
“Lawyer.com is just about helping people,” she said, “from getting a DUI, let’s not pretend like I didn’t get one, or two or three or some others …”
It may have been a refreshing appearance for fans who hadn’t seen Lohan’s face in a while. (She’s been living in Dubai, where she is apparently discussing designing a namesake island).
But not everyone was cheering Lohan’s “continuing, endless redemption tour,” as one AdAge writer put it.
“Lohan is reminding us that she’s pretty much the furthest thing from an average nonfamous person who might actually use a service like Lawyer.com. Rather, she’s a notorious recidivist who obviously had high-powered attorneys at the ready during her darkest days.”
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