November 16th, 2011
06:37 PM ET
Abercrombie & Fitch once offered to pay Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino a "substantial" amount to not wear the brand on "Jersey Shore," but we're not sure they were thinking of $4 million.
That's how much the Situation is asking the company to pay in damages and royalties in a complaint he's filed against the company in Florida that accuses Abercrombie of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false description, according to court documents.
The allegations stem from Abercrombie's announcement in August that they were "deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand."
The widely publicized statement added that they'd offered a "substantial payment" to Sorrentino and "Shore" producers to get him to cease and desist wearing Abercrombie.
In his complaint, Sorrentino alleges that Abercrombie never made him a monetary offer.
He also alleges that while Abercrombie said that Sorrentino and his "Shore" compatriots were dragging the brand down, the company still carried merchandise that referenced his trademarked terms, "The Situation" and "GTL," which stands for "Gym, Tan, Laundry."
Examples the suit cites are a shirt that says "GTL...You know the deal," and another that says "The Fitchuation." Sitch alleges in his complaint that such merchandise creates a "false association" with his now popular "Jersey Shore" persona, and that Abercrombie has profited from the association.
"In essence, [Abercrombie's] campaign was to make the ridiculous claim that Sorrentino was not worthy enough to wear Abercrombie clothing or that Sorrentino was so undesirable that wearing Abercrombie clothing would cause 'damage,'" the complaint reads.
The campaign was "immensely successful," the complaint continues, "as it resulted in hundreds of newspapers and thousands of Internet bloggers publishing stories about [Abercrombie's] products and its brand...As a result, [Abercrombie] has significantly profited off of the use of a false association with Sorrentino and it has wrongly used Sorrentino's name, image and likeness for advertising purposes in violation of applicable law."
Sitch wants a jury trial on each of the seven counts in his complaint, and is asking for $1 million in royalties from the company as well as damages worth $3 million.
Abercrombie has yet to respond to a request for comment.
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