Scarlett Johansson Wins Lawsuit Against Author Using Her as ‘Sex Object’ in Book

By: Pam Wright - July 5, 2014

Scarlett Johansson, 29, won a defamation lawsuit against an author who wrote a book featuring a character based on the Avengers actress.

In the lawsuit, the Captain America star accused French writer Gregoire Delacourt of making “fraudulent use of her name, fame and image” in his book La premiere Chose Qu’on Regarde (The First Thing We Look At).

The character in the book is described as Johansson’s “exact double” who is treated as a “sex object” because of her looks.

Delacourt claims he only used her image as a way of giving Johansson a compliment.

“It was meant as the highest praise. She is an archetypal beauty of our times, very human with a touching fragility. She is a wonderful, iconic actress. I was hoping that she might send me flowers because this book is, in a way, a declaration of love. If I had known she was going to kick up such a racket, I would have picked another actress,” said Delacourt.

The actress, who is currently expecting a baby with French fiancé Romain Dauraic, sued for $69,302, accusing the novelist of using her likeness to promote the story.

Delacourt has sold more than 100,000 copies of his novel and was surprised when the actress brought the lawsuit against him.

“I wrote a work of fiction. My character is not Scarlett Johansson,” he told the French newspaper Le Figaro. “I’m not sure she’s even read the book. It’s not been translated.”

A court in Paris, France, ruled in Johansson’s favor, but she was awarded only $3,397. The Lucy actress also sought an injunction to stop the novel from being translated into other languages or adapted for a movie, but the court threw the request out.

Delacourt’s publisher said that now that the suit is settled, the publishing house is open to offers for an English translation.

Image via YouTube

About the Author

Pam WrightPam Wright is a multimedia journalist for a Kentucky newspaper and WebProNews contract writer. She is Mom to five and Grams to two (and a half). She loves God, her family, photography, traveling, singing, running and scuba diving. Follow Pam on Twitter @pamwrightAMNews and on Facebook @pam.wright.90281943 and at

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  • John

    he’ll get even more press now, sell more copies now, and make more money now and all he had to pay ScarJoe was 3,400… wow

    • Xen Mistress

      Maybe, but now that he has openly used her image, the next phase is to negotiate royalties.

      • jackbutler5555

        How has he used her image?

        • Xen Mistress

          Because he used her name and said the person in his book is “as beautiful as her” or something like that. I haven’t read the book.

          • jackbutler5555

            Her name, not her image? You see royalties coming out of that?

          • Xen Mistress

            Yes.

          • jackbutler5555

            I don’t know any U.S. law which would enable such a legal action. Perhaps you do. You might look up the Supreme Court privacy case law.

  • Michael Massey

    I’m sorry but REALLY ?? Scarlett Johansson poses for provocative pictures, been sexual in movies and yet somehow is offended by being cast as a sex object ?? Sorry, I don’t buy it at all

    • mercfan

      That’s not the point of the lawsuit. She sued for $69,302, accusing the novelist of using her likeness to promote the story. He never asked her permission to use her likeness.

      • Michael Massey

        I could agree with that except in the article, there is a tweet that says this , ” SBS News ✔ @SBSNews Follow

        Scarlett Johansson wins case against ‘hurtful and demeaning’ depiction by French novelist http://bit.ly/1lBsCXE
        Does that sound like she is upset because someone used her exact image ( likeness ) without her permission ?? How is that a ” hurtful and demeaning depiction” ?? Oh yeah, the author describes his “character ” being treated as a sex object because of her looks. Sorry , I stand by my original post. IF the author portrayed the character as a drug addict, child molester , murderer, mass murderer , you get the point, then I can agree . But sex object ?? Not a chance. That IS the image she has cultivated , so to complain about it is ridiculous .
        As to the lawsuit itself, may I point out she was only awarded $3,397.00 and had her request for an injunction thrown out. Simply put, he went too far in using her image without her permission. .However, it was obvious there was no harm and the fine was only for not getting permission. I can say that because of the small fine and the fact the injunction was thrown out

    • Mikey 444

      He’s using her “image” to make a profit. You can’t do that.

      • Michael Massey

        Hence , he paid a fine , a small one. Case closed and the book goes on. However he did not damage any reputation

    • Leah

      do you understand the difference between consent and being use without giving one? just becasue someone has done something sexual in a past does NOT give a random stranger permission to use their likeness for whatever purposes they chose. Scarlett Johansson chose to pose for magazines, she chose to act in those movies. she did NOT choose to be an object for this writer and she did NOT approve of the specific way he did that. so yes, she’s offended. and I’m pretty sad that you cannot see why. becasue its like saying.. oh that woman agreed to have sex with someone in a past, that means she should be ok with having sex with whoever decides they want to and cannot say no anymore.

      • Michael Massey

        Sorry, but WHAT ?? Look again at the result. IF the author was wrong and defamed her by describing hios character, a double for Scarlett Johanssan , ” as being treated as a sex object “, then she would have gotten her injunction to stop the translations of the book. See, that would be spreading the damage, right ?? That was thrown out, it isn’t happening. Add to that the paltry $3,397 fine, for using her image without permission, ( which is proper, however I have no clue if the amount is proper ) That tells you all you need to know. Scarlett Johanssan can’t claim to be hurt by being described as a sex object, she CULTIVATED that image , Leah. She wanted to be sexy, and she is . The author did not defame, slander , libel , whatever , Scarlett Johansson, he simply reaffirmed the image she herself worked to create

      • katydid41

        Leah: I agree with you. But boy whorres expect women to do their bidding without challenges. Their brains are delusional.

        • Michael Massey

          Grow up . NOBODY made her show her body , she did that of her own volition. She used her looks and body to get ahead , NOW is crying about it ?? That is like a woman going out to a night club and wearing a see through mini dress with no bra and a thong, then complaining because all the guys are “leering” . How stupid is that??

    • WaterFaster2012

      Not to mention she’s completely nude in the upcoming movie, “Under the Skin” that’s getting released on dvd/blu ray this month.

    • mrbrockpeters

      I was thinking the same thing.

      Did she sue every casting director that has ever put her in anything? She’s always been the eye candy as far as I’m concerned.

  • blindlookout

    I couldn’t tell her good morning and not look at her as a sex object, she’s obscenely attractive, and with that comes the curse of being objectified, sorry but true

    • katydid41

      You’re correct about the male entitlement of objectifying lovely females but that’s because men designed the dynamics of this crazy world and control it with violence or the threat of violence if women seriously challenge their entitlements.

      • Michael Massey

        I know Katy, WOMEN NEVER DO THAT , right?? Ignorant putz

  • jackbutler5555

    I don’t see how it would be possible for her to win a libel suit in the U.S. She would need to prove malice or reckless disregard of the truth.

  • Alexi Bukhanan

    The highly talented make-up and lighting technicians who use all their skills to make her look good on film- kudos to them. She is, like many surprisingly young actresses, already a rapidly fading once-upon-a-time beauty. Look at the picture above and tell me that’s beautiful? Please. I see far more beautiful girls, sans make-up, when I shop at Whole Foods or attend yoga class or visit the farmers market.

    • Innocent Smith

      Agreed. She is not even pretty. And she has a greasy face on top of it all.

    • blindlookout

      fantastic point, wonder how many on the “A” list would get an F without the make-up Michelangelo’s and digital Da Vinci’s

  • mike

    Good for her. Even if she has built her entire career around looking and acting like a sex object, that’s no reason to portray her as a sex object. Or is it? Even her Avengers character was in tight leather. So, I guess just like any woman, she only wants to be known as a sex object when she wants to. That double standard is never going away.

  • Allen P

    Clicked on a Yahoo link for Scarlett Johansson and there are photos of the scantily clad Scarlett. Naahhhhhh! She’s not a sex object…lol.

    • Mikey 444

      …of course she’s a sex object…the point is that he is making a profit off of her without her permission. You can’t do that legally.

  • Mikey 444

    wow…she can retire now.

  • Mikey 444

    this is the same thing as when a politician uses a song for their campaign without permission. They are called and told “No” by the band’s representative or they will have to buy the rights. People can’t just use someone’s “image” without their permission to make a profit. It’s really that simple.

  • voltarine

    heh heh, the racist Scarlett filth wanted mo’ money mo’ money… pathetic…

  • http://ms1.gotdns.com/ ClintonsTart

    i’d tap it.

  • Mozartnow

    I am sorry she just not that hot , never saw it I have seen pictures of her no makeup on the beach wow it was bad she looked 45 easy.

  • Eric_Jaffa

    Ridiculous lawsuit.

    If a character in a novel resembles a famous actress, the reader doesn’t assume that the novel is true and that the actress did everything the character did.

  • lindy west

    I had to take a double take when I saw her age….she is not even thirty yet? She looks much much older than her years. Attractive, but nowhere near a sex symbol, imo.

  • NotMuchToTell

    Never heard of him, never heard of the book… until now. If she didn’t do crap only a few French perverts who probably already have fake pasties about her all over their screen saver would have read the book or given it a second thought.

  • Queefer Sutherland

    I’d cut off my left nut if Scarlett would allow me to use the other nut on her.

  • Paul

    Ridiculous. He did NOT use her image. He simply COMPARED his character to her using WORDS! In America, that would be freedom of speech!

    • David Deane

      agreed

  • Mr Ed

    If her image is used in the cover art, I can see the grounds for the lawsuit. But if he just said his character looked like her, I don’t get it.

  • vikinghorse

    Ridiculous case. Fiction deliberately based on reality has been protected for decades in every seriously civilized place on Earth. Oh, but this is France isn’t it?

  • bowenaro

    these actors and actresses are just whiny brats that sue over the dumbest things. better not say your a fan, you might get sued for speaking their name. respect lost.

  • renojim_2000

    Hahahah…. Well, don’t write any books anymore, some whiner will find some cockroach lawyer to dream up some excuse to sue you, and some cockroach lawyer in black robes will let him get away with it. Coming soon… book burning parties.

  • john t hardin

    What a joke. Here’s a person that does nothing but make money off her looks, getting all dolled up in skimpy outfits and getting photos taken, and she’s offended? what a joke. That’s almost as stupid as thinking jessica simpson has something besides air in her head.

  • Jameson425

    Scarlett Johansson just went fully nude in a movie and dresses in a provocative fashion all the time. I guess a book about her being a sexual animal takes it too far..

  • jdj624

    what a stupid hypocrite (b)itch. she sues some one for calling her a “sex object”. do a google search for Scarlett Johansson and what do you find?? picture after picture of her posing have naked with her fake (t)its hanging out, or down on all fours in her underwear with her butt stuck up in the air like she is getting ready to be mounted dogie style. if you don’t want to be called a sex symbol then stop posing for pictures like a (s)lut. and just so you know Scarlett your not as good looking as you & every one thinks.

  • WarDog

    Your typical hollywood hypocritical, greedy liberal. She puts herself on screen in sexual ways, acts VERY sexual off screen, and poses for pictures in VERY provocative ways and yet this typical libTARD is offended that someone bases a character off of her. Sorry, but it’s utter rubbish, and what is worse is that there is a judge that sided with her. Pathetic. In my opinion, she did this for MONEY, because everyone knows that liberals are nothing more than money grubbing leeches.

  • katydid41

    Typical delusional male brain with its de facto expectation of entitlements to use a woman any way he wants and then have her thank him with deep gratitude. This man is a lying WHoRRRE who sells his honor and expects Scarlett to do the same. JERK!

  • Joseph

    Well now that’s going to backfire on her. People might actually read it once it gets translated into English.

  • F_This

    What a worthless hypocrite. So you can use yourself as a sex object, but no one else can portray you in that manner. You are nothing without your looks, and I don’t find you that sexy to begin with. The judicial system in this country is as much of a joke as the Obama administration.

    • CE

      Wow, you even found a way to ridiculously dig the President in a comment thread about Scarlett Y- you haters are somethin’.

  • mrbrockpeters

    .

  • CE

    Take a look at her photos, then she sues for being portrayed as a “sex object.” She pimps herself then plays the virgin- disgusting.

  • mattduck

    It’s about protecting your image, your personal brand. If she didn’t sue here and someone later down the road writes something truly offensive than they could say she isn’t truly interested in protecting her brand just out to make money.

  • bob

    given the opportunity, I would use Scarlett as a sex object

  • Samantha

    Firstly, most of you guys are commenting that the book wasn’t exploitative but since it’s not in English (yet) you have no real objective basis for that opinion other than your own bias of already viewing her as something you’d like to ‘tap’ (your words — and despicable). Aspects of the lawsuit aside, I’m more disturbed by prior comments. There have been many comments that indicate among you men a sadly fundamental lack of grasping the difference between being sexy (a natural part of the human experience that actually applies to both men and women) and being a sex object (where you have no voice or choice in what is done to you for the sole benefit of another). The difference here is that being sexy is an important part of being an adult human but by no means all that is being human. Being a sex object means that is all you’re good for– a very narrow and limiting field of focus that ultimately de-humanizes us both – men and women. That’s loss of sexual autonomy and is abusive. Thirdly, it’s untrue that Ms. Johansson has cultivated an image solely as a sex object and then cried wolf. While it’s true that she has posed for many magazines in a sexually provocative manner as part of her modeling career and some of her TV and movie characters have been sexually explicit, we’re forgetting the fact that she has done MANY indie films where her character was NOT sexy in any regard. The adorable dork is something she seems to feel most comfortable in. Also, her participation in these shoots is not above and beyond what any other model or actress has done. It’s in line with the industry. It is also untrue that she ALWAYS dresses provocatively. Many of you have said, “Google her image”. Well, my daughter and I just did this and we found a nice mix…. magazine images – typical, red carpet – typical, out about town – jeans and the like, heavy sweaters, no cleavage, professional type events/appearances – modest pantsuits. Pretty much as you would expect. We only saw a few that were posed overtly racy (as in could maybe be in a mild girlie mag) In the rest, there is simply a very beautiful woman.
    Actually, you gentlemen and one or two of you women {:-( }who comment on her beauty being her one talent are actually proving that the judge made a mistake. You can’t control or even see past your own misogynistic carnal desires to see her talent as an actress because she is so beautiful. It is harmful. It’s an addiction to power and control that harms men and boys just as surely as it exploits women and girls. My daughter, who is ten, looks very much like one of those pictures of Scarlett (I think she was about 12 in that one) and it’s clear that she will be VERY beautiful when she grows up. I hate to think of the scores of pawing and grasping men like bob she will have to evade simply because she looks good and he’d like to use her as a sex object if given the opportunity. I hate to think of the malice hurled at her by other women who call her bitch and slut like jdj624 because she is so obviously beautiful and maybe they are not. Stuff like, “Wonder who she had to screw to get that job? Hope he did her on all fours! She’s not as beautiful as she thinks she is!!” But I know it will happen. Because of people like you.