Academy Sues: Oscars Has Nothing to Do With Those Swag Bags

'Swag bags' are getting bad press, lawsuit states
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2016 12:07 PM CST
Academy Sues: Oscars Has Nothing to Do With Those Swag Bags
The 2013 "swag bag."   (PRNewsFoto/Windex, Distinctive Assets)

The $232,000 "swag bag" being handed out at this year's Oscars made a lot of headlines thanks to the inclusion of items like a vaping system and a sex toy—and the Academy isn't happy about it. On Tuesday, the organization sued Distinctive Assets, the marketing company behind the bags, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Academy actually has no affiliation with the gift bags, which are meant to promote products by associating them with celebrities, but Distinctive Assets makes it seem like the gift bags are affiliated with the awards show by giving them names like "Everyone Wins At The Oscars®! Nominee Gift Bags." As Variety explains, the Academy stopped providing gift bags in 2006, and other companies stepped into the void.

Per the lawsuit, the Academy informed Distinctive Assets last year that it "is critical that no one be confused into believing that your gift bags are associated with or have any connection with the Academy," and Distinctive Assets ultimately agreed to "not purposefully make an association between its gift bags and AMPAS going forward." But Distinctive Assets continues to imply the gift bags are sponsored or endorsed in some way by the Oscars, leading to this year's suit. Distinctive Assets' antics are "likely to ... tarnish [the Academy's] goodwill" thanks to press coverage that is "focused on ... the less-than-wholesome nature of some of the products contained in the bag," says the suit, which seeks an injunction and damages. (Here's what's in the bag.)

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