RHONY's Bethenny Frankel Sues TikTok Over Fake Endorsement Ads

RHONY alum Bethenny Frankel filed a class action lawsuit against TikTok on behalf of content creators experiencing an alleged misusage of image.

By Angie Orellana Hernandez Oct 07, 2022 2:26 AMTags
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Bethenny Frankel wants to take TikTok to court.

The Real Housewives of New York City alum is suing TikTok over ads that allegedly used her image and likeness to sell counterfeit products with her permission, according to court documents filed on Oct. 6 and obtained by E! News.

In the class action lawsuit, Frankel argues that her "reputation and brand" is being "damaged and tarnished" through the unauthorized marketing. She said her demands to TikTok to remove such ads have been ignored by the social media platform.

Per the suit, "In one instance when Ms. Frankel posted a video warning consumers of the unauthorized and illegal use of her persona to sell counterfeit goods—with the intent to inform consumers of the deception—TikTok, ironically, removed Ms. Frankel's content as 'abusive.'"

E! News has reached out to TikTok for comment and has not heard back.

In a press release from her law firm obtained by E! News, Frankel said that she's come to learn that issues of alleged misuse of image and likeness is a "widespread issue affecting creators of all sizes across the space," so she filed on behalf of other content creators as well.

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"It's unacceptable," the 51-year-old said. "I want to be a voice for change and use my platform to create a shift in the industry."

She continued, "TikTok ads are getting millions-upon-millions of views—exponentially more than TV—and yet it's the Wild West of advertising. There is little-to-no effort made to regulate and police that content, and we're going to change that."

According to the court documents, Frankel has "suffered significant injury and irreparable harm" as a result of the ads. This has allegedly included people raising accusations that Frankel "sold out" and was "hocking" counterfeit items. The lawsuit also states that Frankel has never been compensated for the use of her likeness in those ads.

Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Her law firm's press release acknowledged that TikTok has "taken some steps to prevent the fake videos from being posted," but said it is isn't sufficient enough as "the alleged harm caused to Ms.Frankel's reputation is irreparable."

She's seeking compensatory damages and asking TikTok to create a policy change called #BethennysContentClause that would prevent creators' content from being misused and misrepresented, per her law firm's press release.

Her lawyers added in a statement, "Our goal is to hold TikTok accountable and ensure they take steps to prevent this from happening again."

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