Academy sues over Oscar 'breast lift' goodie bags

An Oscar statue on the red carpet. Photo / AP
An Oscar statue on the red carpet. Photo / AP

A "Vampire Breast Lift". A laser skin-tightening procedure. A 10-day first-class trip to Israel.

Those are a few of the services included in the US$200,000 (NZ$301,579 gift bags that one marketing firm has promised for celebrities attending the Oscars ceremony on February 28.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the awards, wants the public to know that it hasn't approved any of those items, including the breast lift, which involves blood being injected into a woman's breasts.

Read more:
Sex toys, toilet paper and boob jobs: Inside this year's Oscar goodie bag
Kiwi actor lands role in Hollywood pilot

In a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, the organisation accused Distinctive Assets of promoting the gift bags as official Oscars swag.

"Distinctive Assets uses the Academy's trademarks to raise the profile of its 'gift bags' and falsely create the impression of association, affiliation, connection, sponsorship and/or endorsement," said the lawsuit, which names the company's founder, Lash Fary, as a defendant.

Neither Distinctive Assets nor a lawyer representing the company responded to a request for comment early on Wednesday.

Gift bags have been a persistent headache over the years for the Academy, which stopped giving gift baskets to presenters and performers in 2007 after the practice came under closer scrutiny by US tax authorities.

Celebrities who receive gifts and free vacations at awards shows are expected to declare them as income and pay the appropriate taxes, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The lawsuit said Fary was misleading media outlets by promoting the gift bags with slogans such as "Everyone Wins Nominee Gift Bags in Honor of the Oscars(R)", adding that the use of the trademark symbol was a deliberate attempt to imply an official connection.

The Academy cited numerous news articles that referred to the gift bags as "official" or as "Oscar Swag Bags," arguing the coverage shows Fary has engaged in deceptive marketing.

- AAP

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 25 Sep 2016 21:39:03 Processing Time: 567ms