Who's exploiting the Legend of Julia Child now? High-end culinary and lifestyle retailer Williams-Sonoma is, according to a suit filed by the Julia Child Foundation. The LA Times reports that the foundation, tasked with "safeguard[ing] Julia Child's legacy," has sued the retailer for "illegally using Child's name and picture in online promotional materials." They claim they are simply upholding the beloved TV chef and cookbook author's "long-standing policy against shilling for products or companies." The foundation has not yet estimated how much in damages they'll seek.
The suit was filed in California and alleges over 100 instances in which Williams-Sonoma used Child's name or image on their website, social media platforms, email marketing, and a "promotional contest" without permission. A quick search finds a Williams-Sonoma Pinterest board dedicated to Child, blog posts, and Facebook posts with photos, and a promotion in which customers who left a comment on the blog had the chance to win a collection of Child's cookbooks.
Williams-Sonoma is the second company to face this sort of legal challenge. Last year, the foundation sued Thermador Appliances for using Child's name image in print ads and on their social media. A case involving an ad agency that did work for Thermador will be going to trial on November 1, and the foundation is seeking "millions" in damages there.