Successful Taiwanese actress and model Heidi Yeh is suing a talent agency and cosmetic clinic over an advertising picture she says ruined her career.
The widely circulated advertisement for cosmetic clinic Simple Beauty features a family portrait-style photograph with the caption:
“The only thing you’ll ever have to worry about is how to tell the kids.”
The implication is that while plastic surgery can physically transform a patient, the genetics would remain the same and would determine how a couple’s children would look.
Several other cosmetic clinics began to use the image and the portrait went viral online.
It wasn’t until a Heilongjiang tabloid released a story that claimed the model in the picture standing next to Yeh was, in fact, her real husband that she alleges the damage to her career began, according to Shanghaiist. The story alleged that Yeh had undergone extensive plastic surgery and then lied to her husband about what she used to look like so that he would marry her. When the husband realized what had happened, according to the false story, he then sued Yeh for not telling him the truth and deceiving him into having kids with her.
While the fabricated story broke headlines, it also destroyed Yeh’s career. The story was widely taken as factual, and Yeh became known as the lying wife who had “tricked” her husband into marriage by undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Yeh said in a press conference in Taipei on Wednesday that after the story was released, job offers immediately started slowing down for her. She explained that because of that picture, the last three years of her life had been a living hell.
Yeh is now suing J. Walter Thompson (JWT) talent agency and the cosmetic clinic behind the portrait for 5 million NTD, or around $155,000, for the potential work she lost due to the advertisement.
Although JWT claimed that the image would only be used for print, the model release agreement Yeh signed gave absolute copyright privileges to JWT. Additionally the agreement was signed with the understanding that the photo could be manipulated according to the company’s preference.
JWT has stated that they are ready to file a countersuit against Yeh because her allegations are untrue and have jeopardized the company’s image.