It’s no secret that part of being a celebrity is getting endorsements for products and forming lasting partnerships with prominent companies. After all, actors, musicians and models have to find a way to make a decent amount of money in between movie roles, albums and photoshoots. Some celebrities have become as famous for the products they endorse, as they are for their actual creative work. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right companies and products for endorsements.
Of course, it’s not always that simple. Some celebrities need to make money quickly and others are trying to make sure they remain relevant in between roles. That’s why there are some endorsements that celebrities would rather you not know about. Either the celebrity’s promotion for the product didn’t come across as convincing, or the star was ridiculed or teased for the endorsement because of the nature of the product. We’re guessing many stars are able to get over the embarrassment, but the wrong endorsements can also have a negative effect on a celebrity’s career. Here are 12 celebrity endorsements that didn’t go so well.
12 Shahrukh Khan
Indian superstar Shahrukh Khan, also known as King Khan, got in a lot of hot water with his fans when he endorsed a fairness cream for men. He led many to believe that he was not proud of the color of his skin. Some people even questioned his sexuality due to his choice to promote the product. Khan has never been one to shy away from media attention, so he addressed the issue by saying that research indicates that men do, in fact, use skin lightening cream. Khan also said that he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and wouldn’t endorse anything he didn’t agree with. The star went on to explain that he wasn’t trying to imply that any complexion was better than another by partnering with the fairness cream company.
11 Rashard Mendenhall
After he made some controversial Tweets, football player Rashard Mendenhall, was fired from the endorsement deal he had with Champion Sportswear, which is owned by Hanesbrands, Inc. Apparently, when Osama bin Laden was killed, Mendenhall Tweeted, “what kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side.” Apparently, people took this to mean that he wasn’t being patriotic. He also Tweeted, “we’ll never know what really happened” regarding 9/11, and that he had a hard time believing that “a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.” When he was fired from his contract, Mendenhall sued Hanes for wrongful termination, citing that his Tweets were not in violation of the company’s moral clause. The cause was settled in January 2013, before a court ruling.
10 Selena Gomez
Former Disney darling (and Barney star), Selena Gomez had a business deal with fragrance company Adrenalina, but the company stated that the singer and actress didn’t hold up her end of the deal. Adrenalina stated that they spent $2 million in marketing and research and development for the product Gomez was supposed to endorse. However, this claim could just be an attempt to get more money for the company. In 2013, Gomez’s attorney said that the claims made against the actress were ridiculous, and that she met the conditions of her contract. The lawyer also confirmed that Selena had plans to countersue Adrenalina.
9 Katy Perry
Singer Katy Perry was paid $4.5 million to endorse Jemella Group Ltd. hair products under a two-year contract. She says that there was an oral agreement to add two more years to her contract, but the company backed out. Now, Perry is fighting for the $2 million she says Jemella Group Ltd. promised her. The company, on the other hand, states that Perry's waning popularity in Europe caused sales to go down, which is why they didn’t want to continue a business relationship with her. Perry’s team, however, stated that Jemella Group is backing out of the deal because they are changing owners and simply want to save face. The issue is still unresolved.
Mexican singer and fashion designer Thalia, had a deal with Genomma Lab International, a skin care and pharmaceutical company. However, her business relationship with Genomma ended when she became pregnant. According to Jezebel, it’s not clear what exactly Thalia’s pregnancy had to do with a breach of contract. Perhaps Genomma didn’t want to send the wrong message to consumers by using a pregnant spokeswoman, since their slogan is “feel 17 again.” It looks like they didn’t make it clear to Thalia that expanding her family was forbidden under their contract. Or, maybe she was too tired to come to promotional events (pregnancy can do that sometimes) and they had to end their partnership.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman was sued by his own clothing line in 2012. Apparently, there was some confusion as to when Will.i.am’s part of the deal was over. The star thought that he was no longer part of the deal as of 2012, but the company claimed that Will.i.am was supposed to be directly involved until 2016. The clothing line sued the singer for $2 million. Will.i.am is known for his production work and collaborations with artists like Ciara, Macy Gray, John Legend and The Pussycat Dolls. In addition to putting out music with The Black Eyed Peas, Will.i.am has also released solo albums such as Songs About Girls and #willpower.
Beyonce had a deal with Gate Five to create a video game called Superstar: Beyonce. However, the singer backed out of the deal in 2010 because Gate Five didn’t get financing by the deadline. The game company sued the star, and claimed that Beyonce’s business move was a “bad faith breach of contract so callous that, on what appeared to be a whim, she destroyed Gate Five’s business and drove 70 people into unemployment, the week before Christmas.” Wow. That sounds pretty harsh. In 2012, a judge denied the singer’s second attempt to dismiss the suit against her for $100 million. As of now, the case is still pending.
5 Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson had an endorsement deal with her own clothing line, as most famous people do when they put their name on a product. Even if the deal is unofficial, it’s just bad business to promote someone else’s clothing line when you have your own. In a partnership with Tarrant Apparel Group, Simpson created JS by Jessica Simpson and Princy jeans and apparel, which are low-priced lines from the Jessica Simpson brand. However, it has been reported that Jessica refused the wear the clothing at events or on the red carpet. She even stated that True Religion was her favorite pair of jeans, so Tarrant sued her for $100 million. Once the suit was settled, Tarrant gave Jessica Simpson back her license to design. Simpson’s clothing, shoe and purse empire was on to $750 million in 2010.
4 Teri Hatcher
Actress Teri Hatcher, who is known for playing Lois Lane in the 1990s TV version of Superman, and for her starring role on the hit drama Desperate Housewives, wasn’t so lucky in the endorsement department. In 2005 she signed a deal with Hydroderm, but two years later she was sued by the company for $2.8 million. Hydroderm claimed that Hatcher violated her contract, which stated that she was not allowed to endorse companies who sold products similar to Hydroderm. Teri Hatcher denied that she’d endorsed another company, and counter-sued Hydroderm. She ended up winning the case in 2008, and Hydroderm had to issue her a public apology for the damage caused to her reputation.
3 Charlize Theron
Stunning model and actress, Charlize Theron had an endorsement deal with Raymond Weil to only wear his watches for a period of two years. Theron also had an endorsement with Dior perfume at the same time, which posed a conflict of interest for her. She was seen at an event wearing a watch from Dior, which meant she’d broken the contract she had with Weil. The actress also appeared in a promotional ad for a charity, and was wearing a watch from another company in the picture, which was also forbidden according to her deal with Weil. Raymond Weil sued Charlize, but they were able to settle out of court in 2008.
2 Zooey Deschanel
The starry-eyed New Girl sued Steve Madden, claiming that she was never paid for an endorsement deal indicating that Steve Madden would release a line of “Zooey shoes and accessories.” According to the actress, she had an oral agreement with Steve Madden and the company didn’t keep their word. Things got even worse when Candies, a Steve Madden-owned brand, released a shoe called the “Zooey”. Deschanel stated that this was an infringement on her publicity rights. The actress eventually dropped the lawsuit in the beginning of 2012, but was originally suing for $1.2 million. Moral of the story: always get everything in writing.
1 The Kardashians
The Kardashians are known for their business ventures (among other things), and for the most part, they’ve done pretty well when it comes to being entrepreneurs. Although some don’t agree with some of the Kardashian’s methods for attaining wealth, it’s hard to argue with the fact that their plans have been working. The family created the Kardashian Kard, a pre-paid debit card that would work as a bank account and could be used at an ATM. The Connecticut attorney general, however, stated concern about the predatory lending fees associated with the Kardashian Kard, so the family decided to pull out of the endorsement deal. However, Mobile Resource Card, the company behind the card (which turned out to be a financial scam) sued Kris and her daughters for $75 million, citing breach of contract.