Let the lawsuits flow, like a gushing natural spring refusing to be bottled. That’s right, Fiji Water is countersuing the Fiji Water woman.
The virally famous Fiji Water woman, whose real name is Kelly Steinbach, gushed into the spotlight at the 2019 Golden Globes for her uncanny ability to photobomb celebs. But things took a turn for the weird when we learned she was suing Fiji Water. Well, it turns out the purveyor of overpriced H2O can dish it out, too.
According to the lawsuit, which BuzzFeed News dug up, Fiji Water and its parent, The Wonderful Company, argue that Steinbach “reneged on the valid agreement between herself and FIJI to serve as a Fiji Water Brand Ambassador and permit FIJI to use her likeness in its related advertising campaign, and instead, attempted to extort close to half a million dollars from FIJI because she wanted a better deal than the original $90,000 she had originally accepted in exchange for such rights.”
In other words, Fiji claims that Steinbach saw which way the viral winds were blowing, and decided she was due a little extra compensation. Again, that’s Fiji Water’s take on things. Steinbach, of course, sees things a little differently: she claims she was “pressured” to “sign away her rights in the moniker ‘Fiji Water Girl’.”
Fiji’s countersuit doesn’t stop at allegations of extortion. The legal filing also takes a moment to, in effect, call Steinbach ungrateful.
“[The] irony is not lost on FIJI that Ms. Steinbach has now bitten the hand that feeds her by suing the very company that is entirely responsible for providing her the opportunity and the means to capitalize on her fleeting 15 minutes of internet fame.”
So what happens next? Well, if the parties can’t agree out of court then judgment is likely to be left for the Superior Court of California to decide.
Who would have thought viral fame could turn sour so quickly. Oh, wait.