The Queen of No Cheater Brands herself, Bethenny Frankel, has landed herself in some hot water. The former Real Housewives of New York icon is now well known for her humanitarian efforts. But now someone else’s picture she featured during one of those efforts is coming under fire.
As reported by Page Six, Bethenny is being sued in Manhattan federal court. The suit is over a photograph that she allegedly used without permission. The photographer, Marcus Santos, claims that Bethenny broke copyright laws by posting a photo he took Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Bethenny used the photo on her Instagram account, which boasts 2.6 million followers.
She included the photo along with a video to highlight her humanitarian efforts after the storm destroyed Puerto Rico. She captioned the post, “This footage is from last year’s #thisisacrisis movement in #puertorico. #hurricanemaria killed more than 4600 people – that’s more than 70 TIMES the official toll.”
Bethenny featured her trip to Puerto Rico on an episode of RHONY, which she was filming at the time. She brought along then castmate Dorinda Medley.They traveled to multiple cities on the island to provide cash cards and supplies to survivors.
In his lawsuit, Marcus claims that the shot she posted in May of 2018 was already registered with the US Copyright Office. He added that she utilized his photo without prior permission or licensing. The New York based photographer is suing for damages and monetary relief. In addition, he is requesting any profits attributed to the photo’s use. He is seeking a jury trial. Bethenny’s reps have not responded for comment on the suit.
Since Bethenny’s exit from RHONY in August of 2019, she has focused much of her time on her BStrong Foundation. The charity organization provides disaster relief for all kinds of crisis situations worldwide. The non profit has assisted with hurricanes, tornadoes, the Astroworld festival tragedy, and the ongoing pandemic. That’s just to name a few. most recently, Bethenny and BStrong have raised over $100 million for Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the Russian invasion.
Bethenny said of money raised for Ukraine, “It made me realize that we are unstoppable. My focus is helping people whose lives have been ravaged by unforeseen circumstances. They are in desperate need of aid and an immediate solution.”
TELL US – DO YOU THINK BETHENNY KNOWINGLY USED A PHOTO THAT WAS COPYRIGHTED? SHOULD SHE HAVE TO PAY DAMAGES FOR DOING SO?
[Photo Credit: Heidi Gutman/Bravo]