Yesterday we reported that Urban Outfitters was being sued for selling a t-shirt screenprinted with an unauthorized photo of teenage model Hailey Clauson. But last night we learned the company that actually made the shirt had no idea they weren’t allowed to use the photo, or that Clauson was only 15 years old when it was taken.
Blood Is The New Black owner Mitra Khayyam emailed Styleite to explain that neither she, nor her staff nor anyone at Urban Outfitters was aware that photographer Jason Lee Parry didn’t get a release form for the photo, which Clauson’s parents called “salacious” in their lawsuit against Urban Outfitters. Khayyam also denied the allegation that her company stole the image from Parry. The company has worked with him before, and the image in question is one of several that were “delivered to us … with the sole purpose of producing tee shirts and marketing them to our network of stores worldwide.” From the email:
Blood is the New Black is very sensitive to the matter at hand as it was revealed to us that the Model was underage after the release of the tee shirts. We do not take this issue lightly as many of our customers are young men and women. Blood is the New Black has always been supportive of up and coming artists – our core mission is provide a space for emerging talent in design, art, and photography. The line has produced over a thousand images bearing works by 50 international artists, many of which our customers have come to know, love and support. We find it unfortunate that after six years of business we find ourselves, and our partners, part of a situation brought on by a lack of proper protocol from a member of the artistic community. We have addressed this issue internally to ensure such an egregious oversight never occurs again.
Khayyam said she values her relationship with Urban Outfitters and wouldn’t intentionally do something to damage it, saying “they must not be held responsible for this gross oversight.”
That leaves us asking, who will be held responsible? Only time (in court, that is) will tell.