"The Help" star claims that weight-loss company is trying to trump up a reason not to pay her
"The Help" star Octavia Spencer has filed a lawsuit against the makers of a weight-loss product, claiming they're trying to weasel out of paying for an endorsement deal by falsely accusing her of breaching her contract.
In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Spencer says she signed on to endorse the weight-loss product Sensa under a number of conditions — including that she didn't want her campaign to focus on significant weight loss; that the campaign not use before-and-after pictures; that ads not be placed in tabloid and gossip magazines; and that Spencer have final approval over all creative elements.
The agreement was for $1,250,000, payable in installments, plus a $100,000 charitable donation to a foundation created by Spencer to fight childhood obesity, the suit says.
Spencer fulfilled her part of the agreement, including meeting her weigh-in requirements, but the campaign failed to match Sensa's expectations, and the company attempted to defy Spencer's conditions by attempting to place ads in tabloids and use before-and-after pics.
Sensa stopped making its monthly payments — more than $95,000 each — in July, the suit alleges, and has never made the promised charitable donation.
The complaint says that Sensa trumped up a claim that Spencer had breached her contract — and thus relieved itself of its duty to pay — when the endorsement campaign failed to meet the company's expectations.
Specifically, the suit says, Sensa claimed that Spencer violated the agreement by including the hashtag "#spon" after her tweets about Sensa. According to the suit, the hashtag was used in compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines requiring disclosure language about endorsements in advertising.
Sensa has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.
Alleging breach of written contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and fraud, Spencer is seeking unspecified damages, plus interest and court costs.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.