Duke Student BroadcastingOne Snapchat lawsuit ends and another begins.
A few weeks ago, Snapchat settled a lawsuit with its ousted cofounder, Reggie Brown, for an undisclosed sum. Now two sisters are suing CEO Evan Spiegel and Snapchat CTO Bobby Murphy.
The reason: In 2011 they willingly modeled for Snapchat's initial app, Picaboo, and they never got paid. The sisters also say that the "tawdry" nature of Snapchat's app has caused them damage. Example: The Turner sisters point out that they come up at the top of Google Image search results (along with some porn) when you type in "Snapchat Sluts."
Business Insider got its hands on the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday. Following are all the details.
Sarah and Elizabeth Turner live in Georgia (where ousted Snapchat cofounder Reggie Brown is from). Elizabeth, the younger of the two sisters, is an aspiring model and news anchor who just graduated from Duke University. In 2011, she was 18 and doing some modeling gigs, which is where she allegedly came in contact with Spiegel.
On July 15, 2011, Elizabeth Turner was asked by a mutual friend to model for Spiegel's "class project" free, according to the lawsuit. She was living in Los Angeles at the time, where Spiegel was residing.
Elizabeth asked if her sister, Sarah, then 19, could join the shoot. On July 18, 2011, the sisters met up with Spiegel and Murphy, who allegedly took photos of them on the Santa Monica Pier, at Spiegel's home on Toyopa Drive, and the beach. Murphy allegedly helped take the photos.
Here are some of their images, which were later used for Snapchat's promotional materials:
A few days later, the girls were sent a model release form, which they signed and returned.
The lawsuit seems to be contingent on one specific line in the form [emphasis ours]:
I, the undersigned, do hereby consent and agree that Future Freshman LLC, its employees, and agents have the right to take photographs, videotape, or digital recordings of me on July 18, 2011 and to use these in any and all media, now or hereafter known, and exclusively for the purpose of promoting the Picaboo application for iPhone.
The girls are arguing that, because they agreed only to release their photos for iPhone promotion — their photos were also used in Android and website promotions — that they should be compensated. They claim their faces helped Snapchat soar to its $10 billion valuation and become wildly popular, citing an early email Spiegel sent to BroBible that had Elizabeth's photo attached and said she was "very good-looking."
The Turner sisters also say that the "tawdry" nature of the app and their association with it caused them "substantial injury and damage, including emotional distress, embarrassment, and loss of pecuniary value of the use of their photographs, images and likenesses."
The model release form also stated, however, that the sisters wouldn't be compensated for their work [emphasis ours]:
"I wave any rights, claims or interest I may have to control the use of my identity or likeness in whatever media is used" and "I understand there will be no financial or other remuneration for recording me, either for initial or subsequent transmission or playback."
Here's a copy of the model release form signed by Elizabeth and Sarah Turner, separately.
Snapchat declined to comment for this story.
Here's a copy of the full complaint:
2014-09-23 Turner v Spiegel Complaint LASC Case BC558442_redacted