Ge You, a veteran Chinese actor who became a viral meme in 2016, has earned $1.1 million after successfully suing more than 500 companies for using an image of him without his consent.
Ge, 65, became a meme after social media users posted photos of him slouching on a sofa for his role in the 1993 sitcom “I Love My Family.”
The actor portrayed a lazy man who slouches on a couch for days. Netizens in China used captures of Ge’s scenes to represent the “lying flat” movement, a deliberate rejection of the notorious rat race among jaded youth.
The phrase “Ge You Tang” or “Ge You Lying” became an internet sensation in 2016, and soon, hundreds of companies started using the popular meme of Ge doing the “Beijing Slouch” in marketing campaigns and social media posts.
According to Insider, one ad from a car company featured seats of vehicles that “let people slouch just like Ge.”
In response, Ge filed lawsuits against 544 firms for using his image in online promotions without his consent.
He has successfully sued 542 firms over the last six years, winning a total compensation of 7.6 million Chinese yuan (approximately $1.1 million), according to local outlet Southern Weekend.
The actor will also receive a public apology from each company, which includes banks, tech firms, automakers, household appliance manufacturers, entertainment companies and an airline.
The courts reportedly awarded the actor less than $50 in some cases. However, the small sums have since added up due to the sheer number of lawsuits filed.
Once again, Ge is being praised on Chinese social media for earning cash without having to hustle.
“Wow, this is really making money while lying down,” a Weibo user wrote.
“An inadvertent action brought Uncle Ge millions of dollars of wealth,” wrote another.