Richard Pryor’s Widow Doesn’t Find “Swag” T Shirts Comical

Promotional tote bag

There’s nothing funny about the custom print tees that depict an image funny man Richard Pryor emblazoned with the word “swag”, according to Pryor’s Widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor.

The custom tee shirt maker, FretShirts, who debuted the custom designed tee shirts is now being sued by Jennifer Lee Pryor who felt the online-based retailer violated her rights to the likeness of her late husband.

Richard Pryor is both an Emmy and Grammy award winner, a recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and is regarded as one of the most talented stand-up comics of all time. Richard Pryor died in 2005 after suffering a heart attack.

Jennifer Lee Pryor’s six-page complaint details her grievances with the t shirt printing service as well as with the promotional tshirts’ design.

“Through Pryor’s hard work and use of his talents, he created a general acceptance and good will for his name and likeness among the public, the effect of which was to create an absolute, incorporeal and transferable property right with the substantial commercial value in the eyes of the public, which has been transferred to Plaintiff,” the complaint read.

A California civil code statue requires consent from the rightsholder of a deceased person’s likeness or image for commercial use, a law which Jennifer Lee Pryor feels FretShirts violated by making the custom designed tee shirts.

She is now seeking $5 million which she claims is representative of the profits FretShirts made off the design in addition to $1 million in compensatory damages. She is also seeking an injunction that would prevent the sale and distribution of custom designed tee shirts.

Attorneys McPherson Rane’s Edwin McPherson and Pierre Pine are representing Jennifer Lee Pryor, and filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court last month.

Since her husband’s untimely death, Jennifer Lee Pryor has remained actively involved in the way in which Richard Pryor’s image is presented. In 2013, she executive produced a documentary on his life, Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic.

To learn more, read this.

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