Athanasios Varzanakos, a Greek man, is suing Swedish dairy company Lindahls for using his image on containers of Turkish-style yogurt. The $6.9m lawsuit alleges (in 40 pages, no less) that the image is misleading because the man has no connections whatsoever with Turkey.
According to BBC News, chief executive Anders Lindahl claims the photo was legally licensed from a stock library:
We bought it from a photo agency so we assumed that everything was in order
PDNPulse also sheds a little more light on the cultural aspect of this case:
The (hilarious) photograph doesn’t just have legal implications. The use of a Greek man’s likeness to promote a Turkish-style yoghurt is a cultural faux pas given the centuries-old conflict between the Greeks and Turks, which began when the Greeks gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Despite the lawsuit, the photograph is currently still featured prominently on the Lindahls website. I can imagine why — this is publicity you can’t really pay for.
What do you think of this story? Should Varzanakos be awarded money for being portrayed as a Turkish man?