One Italian artist, aleXsandro Palombo, decided to make certain celebrities get involved in the cause, and it has created quite a stir. And not necessarily in a positive way.
Palomo featured several high-profile Hollywood celebrities, including Kim and Kendall Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus, Emma Watson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and others, in a series of photographs. The campaign was called “Break the Silence” and was intended to highlight the fact that every woman, regardless of her fame, intelligence, or wealth, is equally likely to suffer abuse.
According to The Independent and Latina, Palomo altered the photos of the women (which are primarily headshots) to include bruises, broken noses, blackened eyes swollen shut, and bleeding lips. Palomo labeled each photo with the phrase, “Life Can Be a Fairytale | If You Break the Silence.”
The photos are powerful images and it’s no surprise that the media took hold of the story.
But there was one small problem with Pamolo’s campaign.
He never asked any of the women if he could use their faces in his campaign.
Pictures of celebrities are printed and distributed every single day without a problem, and these often include pictures that have been photoshopped or edited into memes.
However, according to Entertainment Tonight, using these photos in such a controversial campaign — without the subjects’ consent — is considered a direct violation of the right of publicity, and possibly even a case of defamation.
Rod S. Berman, Chairperson of the Intellectual Property Group, explained to ET that the issue is complicated because the famous women profiled go to great lengths to shape their reputations. Additionally, had the women provided consent, they would have likely been compensated for their contribution.
“Celebrities have a right to market the goodwill associated with their celebrity,” Berman said. “It would be as if someone took their image, put it on a T-shirt, and sold it. The right to publicity gives the celebrity some control in how their public image is used.
“It’s also possible that their spouses or significant others may have a claim for defamation because the image may suggest that the individual is being abused by someone, which may be false.”
Even those who work tirelessly to raise awareness about violence against women are upset by the photos. While the photo series was intended to raise awareness for a meaningful cause, there’s an underlying theme in the series which directly reflects the nature of domestic violence: a man who exercises his power over other women without their consent, thereby denying them the ability to speak for themselves.
It’s estimated that more than four million women and girls in the U.S. are victims of domestic violence, and experts state that at least half of all women will experience some form of domestic abuse from a romantic partner at point in their lives.