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things that just are

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Unwitting Coffee Model Wins Millions
The man whose face graced Taster's Choice labels for several years sure looked happy -- eyes partially closed, mouth perched just above the rim of a cup, frozen in a half-smile of satisfaction. But he didn't know how happy he could be until last week, when a California jury gave him $15.6 million. The man, former model Russell Christoff, was photographed by Taster's Choice parent Nestle in 1986, but was led to believe that the session wouldn't be used. In a drug store 16 years later, though, Mr. Christoff saw himself gracing the label of a jar of the instant coffee, leading to a lawsuit.

The company had started using his image in Canada in 1986. Eventually, he was unwittingly selling coffee in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere. He rejected Nestle's $100,000 settlement offer, and then Nestle rejected his $8.5 million offer, a move the company might come to regret, considering the jury award, which the company plans to appeal.

Mr. Christoff explained to the Associated Press why it took him so long to realize he'd been modeling for Taster's Choice for years: "I don't buy Taster's Choice," he told the AP. "I do beans."

From the WSJ Evening Report


  • Hi,

    I have a similar issue like Mr. Christoff... where I have been used on the Steve Harvey Show, sponsored by Universal. I have been battling with AFTRA and Universal to get paid. I have not gotten anywhere. AFTRA volunteered to help me and on the eve of Arbitration, AFTRA cancelled and settled with Universal to consider me an Extra and give me 1600 dollars for the use of me in the opening of the show. I never consented to Universal using my footage and I did not agree to be titled and Extra. I went to court and somehow my attorney dissappeared in the middle of litigation. It turns out that we had a court date and did not show up... therefor it got dismissed. I never new about the court date and was in the dark. I still cannot get in contact with my attorney.

    My story is similar because I was recruited off the set of Fakin the Funk back in 1996 to help put together the opening for the pilot...only the pilot... for the show. It was just to be reviewed to try and sell the idea of the show. Well they liked it so much that Universal wanted to use the opening as it was shot and sent me a release. When they told me that I would not be paid...I refused to sign it. A couple of years later I saw the show in a hotel room and started inquiring. It took years to finally get some answers, because I was getting the run around... and I also had my own life as a basketball player.

    I just want to make things right, but I have spent my money on that Flake of and attorney and have little money left for the battle. I can get copies of the court file... I JUST NEED SOME HELP! Is there anyone out there??


    Troy Whiteto

    By Anonymous Troy Whiteto, at November 07, 2005 1:51 AM  

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