Blogger battles diet company after stealing her image for its marketing

Rachele Cateyes, a self-proclaimed exemplar of ‘fat pride,’ posted a photo of herself in a bikini that was later used as a ‘before’ picture in an online ad for diet company Venus Factor.


A “fat-pride” blogger is considering legal action against a company she claims used her image as a “before” example in a diet ad without her permission. Rachele Cateyes, author of the Fat Babe Designs blog, writes in a recent post titled “Someone on Facebook stole a photo of me in a bikini to sell a diet program“:

I was unfortunately also turned into the unwilling face of a diet company called Venus Factor, without my permission or knowledge. I have heard of this happening to weight loss bloggers. Their before and after photos are stolen and posted on Facebook and websites with false claims and stories. But my photo seems different (i.e. I am sexy in hell in it) and I was completely taken off guard when it starting popping up as an ad on Facebook.

Cateyes goes on to describe how her personal and professional life is being affected by the unwanted attention. She called the company, Venus Factor, misogynist. When Cateyes initially reached out to Facebook, its representative told her she needed to take up the issue with Venus. She did, and the company passed the proverbial buck. From Yahoo’s Shine blog:

Cateyes says that when she contacted Venus Index, she was told the company was not to blame for using her photo, and that it must have been stolen by one of its third-party “affiliates,” which are essentially commission salespeople hired for Venus by the network ClickBank.

Venus co-owner Brad Howard told Yahoo, “As soon as I was alerted to the situation, I personally took care of it.” The company tells its affiliates that they can’t use images that his company doesn’t provide, but that hasn’t stopped the images from being used.

An expert quoted in Yahoo’s article says Cateyes has a case on two fronts: fair use and right of publicity. (Image courtesy Rachele Cateyes)

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