After mentioning a salacious ad he saw on TheBlaze claiming Joanna Gaines was leaving HGTV to start her own line of facial cream, Glenn actually got a call from their attorney.
“Well, when I told the story on the air the first day, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ attorney called and said we want to talk to you about that ad. And we immediately said we had nothing to do with it. We didn’t even know that’s what the ad was until it popped up, and we canceled it. They said, ‘yeah, we really would like this ad to stop. Can you help us at all?’ So I hope that we are assisting them in every possible way because I love these two, and I think what’s happening to people — because it’s not just happening to Chip and Joanna Gaines,” Glenn said on radio Friday.
Glenn brought in his media attorney Mike Grygiel to talk about what recourse there is and if banding all these celebrities together to fight this type of ad would make a difference.
“I think there’s always strength in numbers. I think there is a threshold obligation here too,
Glenn, on the part of the advertising agency,” Grygiel said. “That it’s authentic and real. Because otherwise, once the genie’s out of the bottle so to speak, it’s just very, very difficult to prevent this type of thing from spiraling out of control on the Internet. And then once it’s out there on all of these websites, it’s difficult to get it back in.”
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: Hello, America, and welcome to Friday. We are so glad that you have tuned in today. There was a commercial or an ad that was running on TheBlaze, and I saw it, and it wasn’t a direct advertiser. It’s one of these things, it’s complicated to say. But basically, an ad agency represents, you know, all of these different people, so you sign on with the ad agency, and then the ad agency just runs whatever ad. Well, there was this ad that was running, and it was about the new face cream and the headline on the ad was Joanna Gaines leaves the show and Chip didn’t even know why. And I’m, like, what the hell is — Chip and Joanna Gaines? What is this? The lies in this are so amazing, I immediately called our sales manager and said cancel this. What is this? How could they possibly get away with a lie? And actually, I said I don’t mind if they sell face cream. But not with lies.
Well, when they said wait a minute, you’re telling us — you’re telling us that we have to change our ad copy? Yes, it can’t be a lie. They canceled. That’s a quarter of a million dollar account.
PAT: A month; right?
GLENN: Yeah, a month. And you see this ad everywhere because people don’t care.
GLENN: I happen to care. But it’s really hard, especially for conservatives who have been blocked out of almost everything to walk away from $250,000 a month. That’s a lot of money, obviously. So we’ve been talking. How does this company get away with this? Well, when I told the story on the air the first day, Chip and Joanna Gaines attorney called and said we want to talk to you about that ad. And we immediately said we had nothing to do with it. We didn’t even know that’s what the ad was until it popped up, and we canceled it.
They said, yeah, we really would like this ad to stop.
GLENN: Can you help us at all? So I hope that we are assisting them in every possible way because I love these two, and I think what’s happening to people — because it’s not just happening to Chip and Joanna Gaines. It’s happening to a ton of celebrities. I want to know what the legal recourse is. How can that ad run? We have one of the best attorneys on the phone with us to answer this question. And we begin right now.
Okay. Let’s just read the first paragraph of this ad. Here it is.
PAT: And like you said, this is everywhere. It’s all over the Internet. But it starts out by saying it all started last November when Joanna Gaines, host of the popular HGTV show struck a deal with Lori Greiner. Didn’t happen.
GLENN: Lie number two.
PAT: The deal states that Joanna’s new cosmetic line will be picked up by QVC.
GLENN: Not true.
PAT: Joanna is very proud of her lying.
GLENN: Lie number four.
PAT: There are attributing quotes here. This is more than just a beauty line. This is what every woman has been dreaming of for most of her adult life.
GLENN: Lie number five.
PAT: The rub is HGTV and QVC are rival competitors.
STU: That is currently a lie.
PAT: QVC just bought HSN.
STU: For $2 billion.
PAT: There’s a contract that says she’s prohibited or promoting any channel or media company. That’s probably true. It was later discovered not even her husband Chip knew that she was — what she was constructing in the background.
GLENN: Okay. Now you’re —
PAT: You’re starting to get into the relationship.
GLENN: And when I read that, I was, like, no way. No way.
PAT: It goes so far as to say when her secret surfaced it, it caused a rift in her marriage. Jeez.
GLENN: Okay. That does damage. That does damage to their image.
GLENN: I mean, I like them because they’re such a great family and such a great couple.
PAT: You’re talking liable now.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh. This is horrible so now we’re up to lie seven.
PAT: Because of this, HGTV has decided to carry on the show by himself. In one paragraph.
GLENN: Okay. That’s one paragraph. There are more lies to follow.
GLENN: We cannot figure out. Because this is not just happening to them. This is happening to — I saw Stephen Hawking and Anderson Cooper are taking a new brain drug that makes them super smart.
JEFFY: Yeah, that’s been around.
PAT: There’s another one involving Michael Jordan and LeBron James, and they’re having some kind of feud, and they’re selling a product with it.
JEFFY: My free bottles haven’t arrived yet.
GLENN: Mike is truly — he has a national practice on media law, emphasis on defending news organizations from news gathering to publicly-related claims including defamation, invasion of privacy matters. He is one of the best attorneys in America. When companies see him coming and his firm coming, they realize holy crap. We have the big dogs coming after us. He is my attorney, and I can’t speak highly enough about him. So we called him up and asked him how do they get away with this? Mike, welcome to the program.
MIKE: yeah, good morning, Glenn, and thank you very much for the kind words. They’re much appreciated. Well, the answer to the examples you’ve raised on the air is that they really are unlawful and the law has recognized what’s known as the right of publicity. And really, what that boils down to is each individual person has a legally protectable interest in their name, their image, their likeness, and their voice. So, for example, if I’m selling cars or a product or a service in Dallas Fort Worth metro area, I could not take a picture of Glenn Beck and put it up on a billboard for motorists to see where you’re touting the product or service, unless I had your express written authorization to do that. And the reason is obvious. That you have a recognizable brand value and identity that has commercial value in the marketplace, and you and you alone should be able to control the dissemination of your image for commercial marketing purposes, and you should be able to collect and monetize that. You know, typically, of course, this occurs with celebrities and people whose identities have recognized market value, although in most jurisdictions, no one can do that to say me either, although I obviously don’t — do not have a recognized marketability factor or quotient in my own persona.
GLENN: Okay. So hang on, Mike. So here’s the thing. I have seen these everywhere and, you know, when I first saw the one about the brain drug, I wrote to Anderson, and I’m, like, oh, so that’s what it is, huh? And he was, like, these are so obnoxious. Joanna and Chip, they called our office and said we’re going to track these people down because they keep just shuttering their business, and I guess they’ll shutter it and then open it up. And somehow or another, they’re getting away with it, and I don’t know why. And on top of it, institutions like me, like GlennBeck.com or the Blaze, we took this ad unbeknownst to us because it was just in a service that you buy the service, and then they from the ads with what they’re selling. When I saw it, we took it down. It cost us a fortune to lose that, and everyone else is taking it. So there’s money being made by the people that are doing the face cream. There’s money being made by all the media outlets that are taking this. There’s money being made by the agencies that are representing this, and they know that there’s somehow or another a game being played and all the celebrities that are involved don’t want to spend the money trying to track those guys down because there’s obviously not deep pockets or the pockets are so well protected in shell companies that there’s nothing to go and get. How do you stop it?
MIKE: Well, that’s really a difficult question. And I think you’re putting your finger on the real problem, Glenn, today for most celebrities who do have recognized commercial value and appeal in their persona. With the proliferation of these examples on the Internet, it’s very difficult to monitor for first thing. And then if you are able to discover these types of things, it’s an expensive proposition sometimes because they’re all over the place. So most of the time if you’re able to identify a truly unauthorized ad where somebody is using your image and your likeness for a commercial purpose, you have not consented to or authorized, you can go to court and get an injunction whereby the court would order the person who is displaying this. A website or something to cease and desist to continue to publish the ad. As you correctly point out, however, that can be a not expensive ask sometimes inconvenient proposition that doesn’t fully answer the Whack-a-Mole problem. Once you get one of them down, it pops up again some place else.
GLENN: So that’s what I want to — I want to concentrate on that for a second. What they do, I’m sure, and I don’t know the case of this company. But what it appears to be is, you know, they’ll just make a quick 501(c)(3) or whatever — is that the right thing? Yeah, a corporation, an S Corp, a quick S Corp, a shell corporation of some sort, they’ll put limited resources in it, they’ll buy it, but they won’t keep any money in it. And then if you sue that company, there’s nothing really to win. And the people just leave to go do it again under some other company name in some other way. How do you get to the people when you know their intent is bad, you know? You want that. You want that protection from a corporation in some cases. But when you have really bad guys using the system, is there anything to get to the actual perpetrators?
MIKE: It can be really difficult, and I had a case a few years ago for a very prominent professional athlete, a tennis player. And his name and image was being used to promote a rather unsavory product. And he in no way authorized this. He did not want the association with his identity in the market embezzle that it devalued his own sponsorship abilities, and we ended up tracking this down, and it was some company offshore, you know, down in the Cayman Islands, and, thankfully, we were able to get the ad shut down on the website because we got a court order and went to Internet service providers like Google and said you can’t display this anymore. But being able to recover actual financial damages from the perpetrators is extraordinarily impractical and very unlikely.
GLENN: So, Mike, let me just ask you an off the wall question. And you know me. I don’t need another project, and I don’t need — I just don’t need more hassles in my life. But this is — this is something that really bothers me because when I saw it on TheBlaze, if we don’t have a way to say to agencies “You cannot lie. These things are just going to keep coming through and slipping through the cracks, and it hurts my credibility as a news organization.
GLENN: Most people don’t care. It also bothers me that people like Chip and Joanna. If people don’t say anything and try to help these guys, the Tom Brady’s and Michael Jordan and Anderson Cooper and even Stephen Hawking, the next people will be us. And is there a way — would you be interested to see if we reach out to all of these people? I would like to as a media company just be a part of something that is trying to enforce truth in advertising. Is it possible? Would it help if everybody got together and tried to stop it?
MIKE: I think there’s always strength in numbers. I think there is a threshold obligation here too,
Glenn, on the part of the advertising agency. They should have some up front ability —
GLENN: Oh, they didn’t care.
MIKE: Before placing an ad.
GLENN: They didn’t care.
MIKE: That it’s authentic and real. Because otherwise, once the genie’s out of the bottle so to speak, it’s just very, very difficult to prevent this type of thing from spiraling out of control on the Internet. And then once it’s out there on all of these websites, it’s difficult to get it back in.
GLENN: Mike, if you could do me a favor, independently like to reach out to these people and see if they’re interested in working together. And I don’t want to lead it or anything else. But if you are so good. And if it’s not you, maybe you know who is that somebody can make a dent. Because if it is the advertiser, we have to go after the ad agencies. Somebody needs to protect truth.
MIKE: Yeah, there should be accountability here and substantial measures often happens with technology. Sometimes things outstrip or outpace the ability of the legal system to provide an effective remedy. And here I think it’s probably a situation that merits consideration from those that are involved because for a — someone who has really worked hard, achieved success to be associated with an unauthorized product or service that may actually be disreputable can obviously cause damage to that person’s market value and reputation. And the legal system should be able to find a way to stop that sort of thing from happening.
GLENN: Mike, thank you so much. I appreciate it, Mike.
MIKE: Yep. Appreciate it, Glenn. Take care.
GLENN: My attorney on first amendment and speech and investigative issues Mike is just fantastic. Now this. By the way, chip and Joanna, we love you, and we want to help you any way we possibly can.