Ellen DeGeneres and Sandra Bullock have teamed up to take on the so-called "celebrity endorsement theft industry." Their lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to expose 100 anonymous individuals and entities that fraudulently sell health and beauty products using the celebrities' names, images, and likenesses without permission. The entities, which earn money by directing traffic to e-commerce sites in the multi-billion affiliate marketing industry, are accused of using fake quotes by the stars in an effort to hawk everything from miracle weight loss solutions to anti-aging creams, per the Hollywood Reporter. The stars' lawyers are seeking an injunction and compensatory damages.
One ad for an anti-aging cream used an image of Bullock appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show alongside fake dialogue, according to the suit. Another ad from the same entity showed DeGeneres claiming she didn't need makeup because of a special serum. "These companies change names frequently, merge in and out of entities formed in states that allow for secrecy, operate websites that pop up and disappear overnight, and generally do everything possible to 'stay one step ahead of the sheriff,'" the lawsuit reads, per the Guardian. The outlet notes the entities, which often use websites designed to look like real news reports, "can now be uncovered with subpoenas." (Read more Ellen DeGeneres stories.)