Bethenny Frankel is suing TikTok for failing to crack down on scam videos that showed her promoting a knock-off designer cardigan, saying the social media giant is the “Wild West” of advertising
- Frankel is suing TikTok, owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, for unspecified damages
- She says the website failed to act when she reported a scam account using her likeness
- Frankel had filmed herself gushing over a $440 Jenni Kayne cardigan
- A fake brand website called Shop Now Cocoon Cardigan used the video
- It has now been removed, but Frankel says it damaged her brand
- She’s inviting other influencers to join her in a class action lawsuit
- ByteDance’s operating loss grew from US$5 billion to US$7 billion last year
- The company still has more than $70 billion in assets
Former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel is suing TikTok for failing to crack down on fake ads that showed her promoting knock-off designer cardigans.
Frankel claims the Chinese-owned company was aware of the scam but did nothing to stop it, despite repeated requests from her.
The spam account had stolen a video of her gushing over a product she loved and applied it to their cheaper counterfeit product.
TikTok eventually removed the videos, but Frankel — who has an Instagram following of $2.8 million and a TikTok following of 994,000 — says the damage was already done.
Her followers believed she had agreed to promote the counterfeit goods to a cheap, untrustworthy website.
Bethenny Frasnkel is suing TikTok for unspecified damages, saying the social media giant failed to crack down on a fraudulent ad
Frankel had written about the $445 Cocoon Cardigan by Jenni Kayne. She says another website used the video to promote and sell its wares
She is now suing TikTok for not doing enough to stamp out scam ads and is inviting other influencers to join her.
Frankel, through his lawyers, told DailyMail.com in a statement: ‘It has come to my attention that TikTok is disseminating videos using my proprietary content without my consent to sell merchandise that I have no affiliation with.
TikTok ads get millions upon millions of views — exponentially more than TV — and yet it’s the Wild West of advertising
‘I’ve discovered that this is a widespread problem that affects creators of all sizes across the space. This is unacceptable and I will be a voice for change and use my platform to bring about a shift in the industry.
‘When you look at advertising on TV, it is highly regulated. TikTok ads get millions upon millions of views—exponentially more than TV—and yet it’s the wild west of advertising.
“There is little or no effort being made to regulate and control that content, and we want to change that.”
The lawsuit was filed today in New York City. DailyMail.com obtained a copy, which reveals that Frankel’s lawyers expect the case to exceed $5 million in damages if other plaintiffs join.
Frankel’s lawsuit, filed today in Manhattan court, invites other influencers to join her
The social media star has nearly 1 million followers on TikTok, many of whom believed she had consented to the scam account using her likeness
Frankel starred in several seasons of the Bravo series, but is best known for her business success; she earned millions through her SkinnyGirl lifestyle brand, and she also runs the organization BStrong Disaster Relief.
The issue was first brought to her attention by her fans online.
She explained that she was angry at Jenni Kayne for posting her glowing praise on their page, but that another, ‘shocking’ account had started selling other cardigans using her video.
In a TikTok video on September 18, she said: ‘The biggest problem is TikTok and the wild wild west of social media.
“It is something that needs to be addressed. It is fertile ground for fraud. ‘What if this really, really hurt my image?’
Her lawsuit comes amid falling profits at TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.
The firm’s operating loss rose to $7 billion last year during a period of tremendous growth for the company. That was $5 billion more than they lost the year before.
However, the company’s assets rose from about $60 billion to $73 billion, according to Finance The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.