One of our favorite unconventional models, Rick Genest aka Rico the Zombie, just reached a settlement with Twentieth Century Fox. Turns out, FX's American Horror Story (which Twentieth Century Fox TV produces) replicated Genest's fairly famous tattoos for its pilot episode. You may recognize Genest, a 27 year old Canadian model, from Lady Gaga's Born This Way video or the numerous runway shows and ad campaigns he has done, including some for Thierry Mugler. (I also spotted him front row at the Timo Weiland Spring 2013 show).
Of the incident, Genest says: "For complete clarity, I was not approached by Fox to license what I consider to be the use of my likeness or my copyrighted body art." In lieu of a copyright infringement suit, Genest's attorneys and Twentieth Century Fox have been negotiating a settlement and as of yesterday, Genest confirmed that a "resolution" has been reached. See the side-by-side picture of Genest and actor Evan Peters (with his Zombie boy makeup) below ...
While information regarding the settlement is very limited, Genest's manager, Colin Singer, told us: “Rick Genest has become a unique international brand. The commercial interest in his persona continues to grow and we take the unauthorized use of his artistic imagery seriously." As for Genest's current projects, Singer says Genest is buy: "We are heading to Austria on the weekend to begin taping for – “Austria’s Next Top Model." Then, to Ukraine for 5 days to DJ at some cool clubs. Following that, he will be in London for some promotion work where he will be endorsing the re-launch of [Mugler menswear]."
Genest (left) & actor Evan Peters (right)
This wouldn't be the first time a suit (or lack thereof in this case) resulted from the unauthorized copying of another's tattoos. Tattoo artist S. Victor Whitmill, brought a lawsuit against Warner Bros. for the Mike Tyson-inspired tattoo that was featured in "The Hangover Part II." Whitmill created the original design for the tattoo and thus, he is the exclusive owner of the copyright. He claimed the filmmakers copied the design that he tattooed on Tyson in 2003 in Las Vegas, and was able to get Warner Bros. to pay up and to digitally alter the tattoo before DVDs of the film were in stores.