Astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz is suing the maker of American Girl dolls, saying the company stole her likeness to create their astronaut doll, “Luciana Vega.”
Walkowicz is an astronomer and TED Senior Fellow at the Adler Planetarium and says she has spoken many times about Mars — including in a TED talk that was viewed over 2 million times — and about Vega, the brightest star in the constellation of Lyra and sits at Lyra’s center.
In addition, Walkowicz says in her lawsuit she has adopted a “unique dress, look, and style,” which includes a purple streak in her hair and distinctive holographic shoes. She says the Luciana Vega doll also has a purple streak in her hair and “wears silver holographic shoes similar to holographic shoes worn by Lucianne.”
The suit says that Mattel and American Girl “used the name and likeness of Lucianne, a well-known figure in astronomy, space, and STEM, who particularly has studied the star Vega, in conjunction with the American Girl Doll Luciana Vega without obtaining her authorization.”
A rep for American Girl tells TheWrap, “American Girl takes great pride in creating original characters for girls. We take any allegations to the contrary extremely seriously, and intend to defend the case vigorously. As it is our policy not to comment on pending litigation, we can’t comment further.”
Walkowicz is seeking compensatory, punitive and statutory damages, as well as the cease and desist of all sales of the Luciana Vega doll and accessories.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.