Ray Liotta Fights Pyramid Scheme for Image
LOS ANGELES (CN) - "Goodfellas" star Ray Liotta claims in court that a pyramid scheme for skin cream doctored his image in before-and-after photos for an online ad campaign he wants, and had, nothing to do with.
In a federal lawsuit, Liotta and his loan-out company Punky Inc. claim Nerium International used the photos to market Nerium AD skin cream on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social network sites.
Liotta also sued Michael Shouhed, whom the Daily Mail newspaper identified as the star of the reality show "Shahs of Sunset."
Nerium claims in its ads that its "age-defying day cream" uses an oleander plant extract to improve the appearance of blemished skin.
Liotta, however, claims that Nerium is a "product-based pyramid scheme" that uses altered before-and-after photos to push a product that does not work as advertised.
"Nerium uses 'before and after' photos with fabricated results to fraudulently induce consumers to purchase Nerium AD skin cream and to entice them to become Nerium partners," the complaint states.
Liotta claims that on Oct. 24, 2013 Nerium used his image to promote the product on social networks, using a presumably airbrushed image to show the actor's skin after 30 days of alleged use.
Liotta claims that a Nerium partner, defendant Victoria Rowe, posted the photos on her blog.
"I know, I know, too good to be true? That's what I thought until I tried Nerium AD over a month ago," Rowe wrote in the post, which was online Thursday. "Now people are asking me what I did to my skin and telling me how great my face looks! I was working on a movie this summer and when it was over a friend showed me these before and after pics of actor Ray Liotta."
But the actor says he never used the skin cream, let alone agreed to endorse or advertised it. He claims any results attributed to his use of the product are "completely fabricated, contrived and utterly false."
Even if Nerium had approached him to market the product, Liotta says, he would have "flatly refused."
"Nerium states that it does not pay celebrities to endorse its products, thereby admitting that any purported endorsement of Nerium AD by Liotta was not and is not compensated by defendants, and further exaggerates and exacerbates defendants' intentionally false and wholly fabricated claim that Ray Liotta used or endorsed Nerium AD," the lawsuit adds.
Liotta seeks disgorgement, an injunction and punitive damages for unfair competition and violation of his publicity rights, and wants his image and name removed from the marketing.
Named as defendants are Rowe, Nerium International, Shouhed, Kelly Heffernan, Judith Perez, Sheri Vareszadeh, Jackie Brann, Nelson Brann, Kimberly Felice and Michelle Manire.
Liotta is represented by Gary Hecker.