Woman sues photo agency for $450k after her photo appears in HIV ad

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily BuzzSeptember 27, 2013
Woman Sues After Picture Lands In HIV-Posiive Ad
Avril Nolan modeled for a photograph almost two years ago as a favor for an acquaintance for an online publication, she never thought her images would re-appear in an ad for people living with HIV by the New York State Division of Human Rights.

A Brooklyn woman who says she posed for a fashion feature two years ago has turned up in an advertisement that suggests she has HIV, and now she's suing photo agency Getty Images for misrepresenting her image.

The Toronto Star reported a photo of 25-year-old public relations firm employee Avril Nolan appeared in a newspaper ad for the New York State Division of Human Rights without consent from the model. The ad published in AM New York this spring features a photo of her with a red flower in her hair next to the red text "I am positive," and lower on the page, the words "I have rights."

But Nolan says she is not HIV positive, and she's asserting her right to stay out of ads that suggest she is, using a lawsuit that seeks $450,000 in damages, according to the New York Post.

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Nolan's lawyer told the Post she was "humiliated and embarrassed," by the ad, particularly because her clients, family members or potential romantic interests could have seen it.

The case is similar to that of a Facebook ad published recently featuring a photo of Canadian teen Rehtaeh Parsons, who died after a suicide attempt in April after she was sexually assaulted and bullied, according to her parents.

The ad promoted online chat services with a slogan that said, "Find Love in Canada!"

The company that published the ad, ionechat.com, said they had scraped it from a Google search, CBC News reported. Parson's family was outraged and Facebook deleted the ad, as well as the company's account.