Stupid Lawsuit of the Month

Well, we now have a winner: washed-up former child star Lindsay Lohan has emerged from rehab long enough to file the Stupid Lawsuit of the Month. You may know the E*Trade advertisements with the talking baby. In one of these ads, the talking baby is chatting with his talking baby girlfriend about why he hadn’t called the night before. The girlfriend asks, suspiciously, “And that milkaholic Lindsay wasn’t over?” Another talking baby girl, presumably Lindsay, pops her head into the frame and says “Milk-a-what?”

It’s somewhat funny, I suppose, and I don’t think anybody thought this was a reference to any particular celebrity. The ad apparently hit a little too close to home for Lindsay Lohan though; she is suing E*Trade for improperly using her “likeness, name, characterization, and personality” without permission. She wants 100 million dollars in damages and the ad taken off the air.

First and foremost, the ad was not apparently about Lindsay Lohan. It was talking babies selling online trading services. I don’t think any viewers saw the ad and thought, “Ha, they’re making fun of Lindsay Lohan.” Secondly, even if it was supposed to be Lindsay Lohan, I really doubt her career has been harmed in any way whatsoever by the ad. If there’s no harm, there’s no damages, and no winning the lawsuit. Finally, even if there had been some sort of harm to Lohan, parody and celebrity impersonation is a time-honored and perfectly acceptable form of advertising, as long as it doesn’t imply endorsement by the celebrity. Nothing about a talking milkaholic baby who happens to be named Lindsay implies that Lindsay Lohan endorses E*Trade.

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.