Using anyone’s photo without their permission to sell stuff is a risky business. When that person is world famous, 6”4, 240lbs and Aquaman, the risks increase exponentially. Whether you end up in court or summoned to a duel under the sea, the outcome is unlikely to be positive for whoever decided to infringe on copyright law. Unless, apparently, you happen to be selling cookies.
Last week, Colorado-based Girl Scout Charlotte Holmberg and her mother went viral after launching an innovative and visually arresting marketing campaign for their biscuits. The strategy was simple. Entice customers in with a large photo of a shirtless, glowering Jason Momoa, and rename the cookies “Momoas” to honour the current “King of the Seven Seas” and previous Dothraki warlord. Unsurprisingly, Holmberg sold out in a matter of days.
However, when news of her success began circulating around the internet, many people began to wonder whether everything about the promotion was absolutely kosher. Several pointed out that it should be illegal to use a copyrighted image for personal profit. Some called for the 10-year old to be prosecuted. The world waited with baited breath to see where the story would go and what, if anything, Momoa himself would have to say on the subject.
However, after he was confronted about the scandal on the red carpet of the Academy Awards, it is clear that Jason Momoa is not only not bothered by the use of his likeness, but is also eager to benefit from Holmberg’s ingenuity. In a brief interview with Entertainment Tonight, the actor revealed, "I love Girl Scout cookies," before adding, "I was waiting to get some free ones. I'd love some." Momoa went further still, revealing his favourite flavour to be “the shortbread”, insisting that “you put those in the freezer and that's the best way."
It might come as a shock to learn that a man who has built his reputation on being more ripped than a pair of $170 designer jeans has a fondness for boxes of cookies delivered by small children. However, it was none other than Momoa’s wife, actress Lisa Bonet, who confirmed that he does indeed have a fondness for the snacks. Also speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she revealed that he “just wants his cut” of the cookies.
Despite Momoa’s explicit blessing, it’s uncertain whether the action star will ever get to enjoy a box of biscuits with his face on it. In the midst of media scrutiny last week, the Girl Scouts Association of Colorado announced that they would not be selling, nor producing any more of the controversial cookies. Whether that means Momoa will have to get creative and make his own remains to be seen.
As was pointed out extensively at the time, the legally dicey territory of the original cookie plan could have landed the Girl Scouts in a sticky situation. Fortunately, they chose to target a man who not only doesn’t want to send little girls to jail, but also enjoys a cookie. Future entrepreneurial cookie sellers would be well advised to choose a similar subject.