Kylie and Kendall Jenner have faced both criticism and legal action over a series of t-shirts that plastered their faces over iconic photos of artists like Tupac and Biggie. Though they have removed the offending shirt from their online store, the Jenners were hit with a lawsuit from photographer Michael Miller, who claimed the sisters never asked for his permission to use his photos.
According to TMZ, the Jenners claim that Miller is not the author or the creator of the photos, and therefore has no right to sue. The report suggests that Miller “misrepresented ownership when he filed with the U.S. Copyright Office.” It’s then cited that the photographer is entitled merely to “thin copyright protection” at best.
Just this month, another photographer laid claim to the photos that were used on the shirts. Al Pereira filed a lawsuit against Kendall Jenner, Inc., citing similar copyright laws as Miller. Prior to that, The Notorious B.I.G.’s estate also threatened legal action. Voletta Wallace, Biggie’s mother, to responded on Instagram, writing, “The disrespect of these girls to not even reach out to me or anyone connected to the estate baffles me. I have no idea why they feel they can exploit the deaths of 2pac and my Son Christopher to sell a t-shirt. This is disrespectful , disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!”
Miller’s original suit was based on copyright, but also a desire to be distance from Kendall Jenner in wake of her infamous Pepsi ad. The quickly-pulled commercial received a massive backlash for appropriating images of resistance from movements like Black Lives Matter without taking on any cause or responsibility. You can get a good idea of the reaction to the ad here.
Miller has yet to respond to the Jenners attempting to poke holes in his lawsuit. Stay tuned for further coverage on the story.