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Ellen Barkin at the Harvey Weinstein trial

Ellen Barkin Flips The Bird, Gets Sued

Gettyimages | TIMOTHY A. CLARY
By Ona L

Back in January, a photo of actress Ellen Barkin flipping the bird at a photographer while attending the Harvey Weinstein trial in support of her good friend Annabella Sciorra went viral. The photo was shocking, empowering and fitting for the all-around situation. The actress loved the photo and posted it to her Twitter account with the caption “Mood”. She immediately received hate which was shocking because of the immediate relevance that the photo had to the trial of Weinstein and the victims.


Followers were calling her “classless” and one person even responded with “the face of irrelevance”. Since when was supporting a friend irrelevant? Barkin also received love from fellow actress Rosanna Arquette with a “Me Too” comment. As if Barkin didn’t already get enough hate now she is being slammed with a lawsuit from the photographer Steven Hirsch. He photographer is suing Barkin for posting his copyright photo on her social media page. “TMZ” claims that Hirsch licenses his photos to business and publications for a fee so Barkin using it for free is a no no.

Ellen Barkin at an event
Gettyimages | ANGELA WEISS

Hirsch claims that the only person he has allowed use of the photo is a New York based outlet. Barkin posted the photo in late January and is yet to take it down. He also points out that it has racked up over 1,000 retweets and has been liked over 1,500 times. The photographer is now suing and while Barkin is yet to respond to the lawsuit it seems like it could be pretty serious in the long run. Thankfully, for Barkin, she isn’t the only celebrity who had been sued by a photographer and lived to tell about it.


She joins the likes of Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent and Khloe Kardashian. Even sister Kim Kardashian-West was sued for using a photo of herself going out to dinner at a Miami restaurant. The reality star admitted that she saw the photo floating around online and decided to share it as well. She later came to an undisclosed settlement with the photographer. One would assume that celebrities would be exempted from lawsuits for sharing photos of themselves but apparently that is not the case.


The laws around copyright when it comes to celebrities and social media is still pretty murky. The laws clearly favor the photographer for the time being, but we can only imagine that will change soon. Social media throws a wrench in the copyright laws there was never a need for it before. That being said, everyone’s gotta make a living and if this is how this artist is making his living then, yea, suing for using his work without permission is going to warrant a lawsuit.

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