A dozen professional models, including Carmen Electra and Lucy Pinder, filed a series of lawsuits this month that accuse five Las Vegas strip clubs of using their photos for advertising without permission or payment.
The federal suits were filed against the Can Can Room, Crazy Horse III, Girls of Glitter Gulch, Spearmint Rhino and Play it Again, Sam’s.
“Had each Plaintiff been afforded the opportunity to consider whether to consent and release rights as to the use of any image, each Plaintiff would have promptly and unequivocally declined,” the complaint against Glitter Gulch states.
According to the suits, the strip clubs’ use of the images violates the Lanham Act, which prohibits the false or misleading use of a person’s image for advertising, as well as Nevada’s Right of Publicity Statute, which protects individuals’ privacy.
Electra and Pinder allege that the Can Can Room used their “pirated” photos on social media and promotional flyers, according to one lawsuit. In a separate suit, Electra makes the same allegation against Play it Again, Sam’s. She sued under her real name, Tara Leigh Patrick.
Pinder, a plaintiff in four of the suits, appeared on television shows including “Big Brother” and “Weakest Link,” and her annual calendar is a bestseller in the U.K., according to court documents.
Eva Pepaj, Rachel Koren, Tiffany Toth Gray and Pinder all allege that their photos were used for social media and advertisements for Girls of Glitter Gulch, which closed in 2016 after the property was purchased by developers Derek and Greg Stevens.
Other models pointed fingers at Crazy Horse III and Spearmint Rhino, both of which used photos of the models for social media and promotions, the suits allege.
Crazy Horse III declined to comment on the suit against the club, and Spearmint Rhino did not respond to a request for comment. A woman who answered the phone at Play it Again, Sam’s but declined to give her name or position said she had met with an attorney and had no comment.
The lawsuits state that the use of their photos implies the models worked at or endorsed the strip clubs, though none of them had any affiliation with the businesses. The women claim they were not paid for the use of their images and were not contacted for permission to use them.
Despite requests from the models to remove them, according to the complaints, the photos remain on the clubs’ accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media.
“Defendant is an unapologetic, chronic, and habitual infringer,” each suit alleges.
The suits state that all the models are well known in their industry, and that the misuse of their photos damaged their careers.
Eva Pepaj, whose photo was used on the Instagram and Facebook pages for Glitter Gulch, has appeared in movies, on runways and in a nationally aired Diet Coke commercial.
Tiffany Toth Gray is a Playboy Playmate and has appeared in other magazines and catalogs. She has more than 3.8 million followers on Facebook and 1.2 million on Instagram.
She alleges two photos of her were used without her consent to promote events at Glitter Gulch and were reposted multiple times.
The women are seeking more than $75,000 each in damages for allegations of false advertising and endorsement, violations of Nevada’s Right of Publicity Statute and negligence.
Representatives of Glitter Gulch and the Can Can Room could not be reached for comment. Repeated requests for comment from the 12 models’ attorneys, Kurt Bonds and David Sexton, were not returned.