Fiji Water fires back in legal battle with photobomber from Golden Globes

Fiji Water Co. fired back in a legal battle with the woman who became known as the Fiji water girl when she appeared in the background of numerous celebrity shots at the Golden Globes last month.

The company responded to a lawsuit by Kelleth Cuthbert, whose real name is Kelly Steinbach, by countersuing in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday.

The complaint alleges that Cuthbert breached her deal with the company and showed '"simple greed" by filing a lawsuit against Fiji Water.

Cuthbert was on the red carpet at the Golden Globes on Jan. 6, passing out water and getting into the background of numerous celebrity pictures, leading to the Fiji water girl moniker on social media.

Then last week, Cuthbert sued Fiji Water, claiming the company had no authorization to use the pictures from the awards ceremony in a massive marketing campaign.

In its counterclaim, Fiji included what it said was an email exchange between the company and Cuthbert's agent that appeared to show her agreeing to $90,000 to be its "brand ambassador."

"Ms. Steinbach reneged on the valid agreement ... and instead attempted to extort close to a half a million dollars from Fiji because she wanted a better deal than the original $90,000 she had originally accepted in exchange for such rights," the countersuit claimed.

35 PHOTOS
Fiji Water Girl
See Gallery
Fiji Water Girl
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR FIJI WATER - Jamie Lee Curtis at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards with FIJI Water on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
Idris Elba at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards with FIJI Water on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
Lucy Boynton at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards with FIJI Water on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
Richard Madden at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards with FIJI Water on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
Holly Taylor at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards with FIJI Water on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
FIJI Water at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
Amber Heard at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards with FIJI Water on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
Camilla Belle at the 76th annual Golden Globe® Awards with FIJI Water on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for FIJI Water/AP Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Caitriona Balfe attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: William H. Macy and Sofia Grace Macy attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Susan Geston (L) and Jeff Bridges attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Alyssa Milano attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Julianne Moore attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Taraji P. Henson attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Kaley Cuoco attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Phil Lord (L) and Christopher Miller attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: (L-R) Judith Light and Connie Britton FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Sandy Jacobson (L) and Nina Jacobson attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: (L-R) Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Mia Swier (L) and Darren Criss attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Alison Brie attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Heidi Klum (L) and Tom Kaulitz attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Tom Kaulitz (L) and Heidi Klum attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Terry Crews (R) and Rebecca King-Crews attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Amy Adams attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Molly Sims attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Emmy Rossum attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Judy Greer attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Lucy Boynton attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Cody Fern (L) and Richard Madden attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Sabrina Dhowr (L) and Idris Elba attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Richard Madden attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Camilla Belle attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Kiki Layne attends FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Irena Medavoy (L) and Carly Steel attend FIJI Water at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The filing included an apparent clip of Cuthbert, in a Jan. 9 interview with Los Angeles TV station KTLA, when she is asked if she is now the new "Fiji Water ambassador."

"Yeah brand ambassador." she answered. "I'm so excited to work with them, they're a great brand."

Fiji water also claims it has a signed contract from Cuthbert.

NBC News reached out to Cuthbert's agent for comment but did not immediately hear back. The model's lawyer, Kecia Reynolds, declined comment.

Her publicist said in a statement that "suing Fiji Water was a last resort for Ms. Cuthbert who had hoped to discretely resolve this dispute."

"Fiji Water used her image without a contract, without consent and without paying her, all for Fiji Water's financial gain. Models make a living off the use of their image. No one would expect other professions to work for free," the statement said.

 

 

 

Read Full Story