She’s known across the Internet as the “attractive convict,” but a lawsuit over the use of this Florida woman’s mug shot meme means things could get pretty ugly for at least one website.
Meagan Simmons was arrested on DUI charges in 2010. Her photogenic mug shot was posted to an arrest record database, and eventually found its way onto Internet image boards. There, it spawned a meme playing on Simmons’ looks and her status as an apparent inmate, which enjoyed dozens of iterations (See our gallery below for some prime examples).
As the Tampa Bay Times pointed out, Simmons, a mother of four from Zephyrhills, initially weathered her newfound fame with grace, doing interviews and celebrating after she “made the cut” when Inside Edition included her in an episode about attractive mug shots.
At the time, Simmons told The Huffington Post that she’d even consider posing for Playboy.
“If [Hugh Hefner] himself contacted me, I think that’s an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Simmons said.
But now, Simmons is suing a company who she says tried to cash in on her image, and invaded her privacy in the process. She slapped InstantCheckmate.com with the lawsuit, claiming that the background check website used her image for advertising and commercial purposes without her permission.
The suit, which seeks monetary damages and an injunction to prevent further use of her image, claims the exposure invaded Simmons’ privacy and disturbed her peace of mind.
“At the end of the day, this is actually about intellectual property,” Simmons’ attorney, Matthew Crist, told the Times. “If someone is going to use your image, they need to pay you for it.”
Crist told the paper that the website used his client’s image for financial gain, which makes its use different from the myriad memes made with Simmons’ mug.