Don’t mess with Ariana Grande. The pop star is reportedly in the process of taking serious legal action. Her target? Forever 21. Earlier this week, she filed a $10 million lawsuit against the fast fashion giant after they allegedly stole her name, likeness, and other intellectual property to publicize their products — all without compensating Grande accordingly.
Originally reported by TMZ, the official complaint argues that Forever 21 shared social posts featuring photos of the singer, in addition to images of a model that looked “strikingly similar to Ms. Grande.” The content has since been removed from the retailer’s Instagram page. According to EW, Forever 21 “sought [Grande’s] endorsement of its clothing and accessory products” earlier this year, but she turned down that offer because they wouldn’t pay her “fair market value.”
These new revelations make the recent news of Forever 21’s possible bankruptcy more telling. Clearly, the once-dominant mall favorite has been having financial trouble for some time, so much so that it couldn’t make an offer to Grande that she considered fair compensation.
“The company has been in talks for additional financing and working with a team of advisers to help it restructure its debt, but negotiations with possible lenders have so far stalled,” Bloomberg explained. “Focus has thus shifted toward securing a potential debtor-in-possession loan to take the company into Chapter 11, even as some window remains to strike a last-minute deal that keeps it out of court.”
It makes sense, then, that Grande opted to collaborate with H&M, another fast fashion force. She created a limited edition merch line tied to her Sweetener world tour, which included items like bodysuits with the iconic “thank u, next” lyrics printed in front, cotton candy pink T-shirts instructing people to break up with their girlfriend, and tees making fun of the popular “And what about it?” meme.
While we’ll have to wait and see how this lawsuit might affect Forever 21 in the long term, what we do know for sure is that Ari is one savvy businesswoman.