On the hit show “Baywatch,” Carmen Electra played a lifeguard who kept a close eye on the water, constantly looking for swimmers in distress. In real life, she apparently stays on the lookout for those who’d impinge on her trademark rights.
Electra and seven other women are suing the Golden Banana strip club in Peabody for allegedly using their images on the club’s social media pages without authorization, records show.
The suit, filed July 1 in US District Court in Boston, names D. & B. Corp., doing business as the Banana, and D. & B. president Mark Filtranti as defendants. The online case docket says the plaintiffs want a cool $1 million for trademark infringement.
Calls to a number listed for the club weren’t answered Thursday afternoon before its scheduled opening, and an e-mail to the Banana seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned. No lawyers for the defendants were named in court papers.
The civil complaint identifies Electra using her birth name, Tara Leigh Patrick, as well as her more familiar stage moniker.
“Each of the Plaintiffs’ Images was misappropriated, and intentionally altered, by one or more of the Defendants in order to make it appear that they worked at, endorsed or were otherwise associated or affiliated with Golden Banana,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer Paul V. Sullivan of Providence in the civil complaint. “In the case of every Plaintiff, such appearance was false.”
Sullivan added that in “every case this misappropriation occurred without any Plaintiff’s knowledge, consent or authorization, at no point did any Plaintiff ever receive any remuneration for Defendants’ improper and illegal use of their Images, and Defendants’ improper and illegal use of Plaintiffs’ Images have caused each Plaintiff to suffer substantial damages.”
Sullivan said that in “certain cases Defendants misappropriated Plaintiffs’ advertising ideas because the Images they misappropriated came from Plaintiffs’ own social media pages, which each Plaintiff uses to market herself to potential clients, grow her fan base, and build and maintain her brand.”
Sullivan wrote that Electra “has never been employed at Golden Banana, has never been hired to endorse Golden Banana, has never been otherwise associated or affiliated with Golden Banana, has received no remuneration for Defendants’ unauthorized use of her Image, and has suffered, and will continue to suffer, damages as a result of same.”
Electra, 47, lists a number of professional accolades on her Facebook page.
“Carmen ultimately ventured into acting with regular roles on Baywatch and the MTV’s Singled Out,” her page says. “Carmen has since made the move to the big screen with starring roles in blockbuster hits including Scary Movie, Dirty Love, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Meet the Spartans. Carmen won the role as the face of MAX Factor following in the famous footsteps of Marilyn Monroe and Jaclyn Smith. Electrifying, intoxicating and firmly in control, for two years Carmen brought the high-glam attitude of the MAX Factor line to life with style and sensuality.”
She’s also a wordsmith.
“Adding to her multifaceted career, Electra also released her own book ‘How To Be Sexy’ and a successful line of aerobic DVDs,” her page says. “Most recently, the actress served as guest judge on Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent and made a highly-anticipated guest spot on CW’s 90210. With an impressive body of work that encompasses dance, television, film, comedy and theatre, Carmen Electra has proven herself as one of Hollywood’s most versatile and iconic personalities.”
The other plaintiffs named in the civil complaint are described as “well-known professional models.”
Like Electra, the Golden Banana also isn’t shy about self-promotion online, with club staff writing in a recent post on their official Facebook page, “We’re turned upside down over the next Queen of the Pole competition on Thursday July 18th.”
The club describes itself on Facebook as a place “where your erotic dreams become a reality. Only minutes from downtown Boston and The Encore Boston Harbor, The Golden Banana offers full nude exotic dancers, serving a large selection of specialty cocktails, premium domestic, and imported beer, wine, high end champagne, and other adult beverages, including complete bottle service.”