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Kim Kardashian's 'Meth Face' Used on Tenn. Sheriff's Website

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Kim Kardashian may have never used meth, but you wouldn't know it from her face on one Tennessee sheriff's website.

According to TMZ, the Bradley County Sheriff's Office hosted a number of "before" and "after" photos to give visitors the impression of what meth can do to an otherwise vivacious visage. Turns out, the Sheriff's Office accidentally hosted a picture of Kim K alongside her heavily photoshopped "after" photo, giving us all a glimpse into Kim's face after a three month meth binge.

What can Kim do about her "meth face" being hosted online?

Likeness Rights

Like any celebrity, Kim Kardashian enjoys the right to be compensated when her image is used for commercial purposes without her permission. In many states, these protections extend to everyone (not just celebrities), which is one of the reasons shows like "Cops" will blur out bystanders' faces.

Without Kim's permission and/or paying to license her image, the Bradley County Sheriff's office may have been infringing on Kim's right to her own likeness. However, the Tennessee sheriff's office was using Kim's image as part of a "scared straight" public service message on the dangers of methamphetamine use, not to make a profit. Since the small town sheriff's office didn't likely make a dime off the campaign, it's unlikely that Kim would sue over the publicity rights.

False Light and Defamation

Despite the fact that the website, which according to TMZ has been taken down, didn't use Kim's photo for commercial use, she could still sue for making her look like a meth head.

Under a theory of false light, Kim could claim that regardless of the fact that the site doesn't say "Kim Kardashian is a meth user," it juxtaposes her face with an "after" photo that portrays her in a misleading manner. Since being shown as a meth user (and a banged up one at that) is pretty obviously offensive and damaging to Kim's reputation, she could sue for any damage done by her "meth face."

Kim's false light claim might closely resemble her defamation claim for the same sort of reputation damage, with the only difference being that Kim alleges that what was implicitly published is a lie -- that she is not a meth user.

No news yet on whether the Kardashian legal team is moving on this "meth face" issue. It's probably wise to let it disappear as an insignificant news blip.

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