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Woody Allen, American Apparel settle ‘rabbi’ lawsuit

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 18, 2009 | 1:58 pm

Remember this American Apparel ad for der heyliker rebe? I found the image of Woody Allen dressed as a rabbi, from a scene in “Annie Hall,” at the corner of Alvarado and Sunset in Echo Park two years ago; another popped up in Manhattan.

Days later they were gone, and we quickly learned that was because American Apparel, and its scandalous founder, didn’t have permission to use it. Not exactly an altar boy himself—actually, both Dov Charney and Woody Allen are Jewish—Allen sued. Today the two settled for $5 million.

From The New York Times City Room blog:

The settlement means that Mr. Allen, who had initially sought $10 million in the trial, can avoid a trial that could have dredged up potentially salacious details about the filmmaker and his wife, Soon-Yi Previn.

“Threats and press leaks by American Apparel designed to smear me did not work and a scheme to call a long list of witnesses who had absolutely nothing to do with the case was also disallowed by the court,” Mr. Allen said outside the federal courthouse, reading from a statement.

“I suspect this dose of legal reality led to their 11th-hour settlement,” he added.

Mr. Charney, who spoke to reporters afterward, said he did not regret using he image of Mr. Allen dressed as a Hasidic Jew, and that his insurance company had forced him to settle.

“I’m not sorry for expressing myself,” he said. “I wish him the best with his career, and I am looking forward to his next film.”

The settlement brought to an end an episode that pitted controversial figures from the fields of film and fashion against each other in a highly public fashion.

More about what makes those figures controversial here.

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