Does Ralph Lauren Have the Legal American Right to End Public Conversation on a Public Ad?

Boing Boing commented that Ralph Lauren model’s head is bigger than her pelvis.Let us pray that Lara Stone, who says that she’s too fat, doesn’t aspire to look like this woman in a new Ralph Lauren.

We have just plain gone over the top here, and rather than the Ralph Lauren folks suggesting that Boing Boing’s call out on this ad is some kind of copyright infringement — which it is not — they should pull back now, while they still can.

Promoting the notion that women should look like this model can promote women’s deaths. Period.

We ask you Ralph Lauren: what BMI would a woman looking like this one typically have? What are the health problems associated with looking like this?

I’m tired to trying to walk a reasonable line on this body image subject, as I just did this morning, writing: Stop Calling Me Fat: But Aren’t We? Lara Stone Thinks So.

It all began innocently enough. Boing Boing is largely a guy’s website. They reprinted this Ralph Lauren ad, from a blog called Photoshop Disasters. The page is now removed, presumably after receiving threatening letters from the Ralph Lauren lawyers.

Boing Boing reported yesterday that the Ralph Lauren marketing and legal folks are all over them, instructing Boing Boing’s ISP, conveniently located in Canada to take down the photo.

Bad move! Boing Boing writes: 

One of the things that makes Priority Colo so awesome is that they don’t automatically act on DMCA takedowns. Instead, they pass them on to us and we talk about whether they pass the giggle-test.

This one doesn’t.

So, instead of responding to their legal threat by suppressing our criticism of their marketing images, we’re gonna mock them. Hence this post.

Arguing the Ralph Lauren on legal grounds, Boing Boing continues: 

So, to Ralph Lauren, GreenbergTraurig, and PRL Holdings, Inc: sue and be damned. Copyright law doesn’t give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings. You should know better. And every time you threaten to sue us over stuff like this, we will:

a) Reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it, and;

b) Publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart; and

c) Offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models.

If the folks at Ralph Lauren contact my ISP and tell them to remove the ad, I will personally ignite a boycot of Ralph Lauren on every low BMI issue that I can conceive. Not only is the ad too much to stand silent over, but the response to stifle any conversation around what is becoming a huge public debate is illegal.

I will personally start a legal defense fund, asking my readers to help Boing Boing defend themselves in court. I do not like these kind of heavy-handed tactics in America, which is the core concept of the Ralph Lauren brand.

With Ralph Lauren ads all over the blogosphere, do they have a legal track record of pulling ads out of blogs that favorably comment on the brand? Consistency should matter to all of us on this subject. I will look later today to see if other Ralph Lauren ads are “up” on blogs.

Yes, American women need to go on a diet, but the last woman I saw looking like the one in your ad died. I watched her die week by week last year, on the treadmill in the gym of my apartment building.

Barely able to walk, she could go perhaps .5 mph on the treadmill, trying to stay alive. Unfortunately, her anoxeria was too far gone. She refused to eat. I don’t know what made her anorexic. I’m not suggesting that any fashion ads caused her demise. But she was a fashionista; I will tell you that.

You have seriously fueled the existing public date around advertising and body imager, Ralph Lauren.

I encourage anyone who has a website or blog, to comment either for or against the Ralph Lauren tactics in this dispute. Anne