Lawsuit against Belvedere Vodka consistent with its history of ‘comic’ date rape ads

The Huffington Post reports that Belvedere Vodka (Moet Hennessy USA) is getting sued for stealing imagery for an ad from a video depicting a date rape.

The woman featured in a controversial Belvedere Vodka ad showing what many believe to be date-rape imagery is suing the boozemaker for emotional distress and unlicensed use of her image, KTLA reports.

Alicyn Packard, a voiceover actress in Los Angeles, said in the suit that the image of her was stolen from an on-line video that her company, Strictly Viral Productions, produced, according to KTLA. Interpreted by many as depicting a rape in progress, the ad features a man grabbing and fondling Packard from behind, as panic overtakes her face. The tagline reads, “Unlike Some People, Belvedere Always Goes Down Smoothly.”

The commercial sparked a severe viral backlash, with critics saying the ad made light of rape. Belevedere apologized and removed the ad from its Facebook page. But its parent company, Moet Hennessy USA, apparently has not reached out to Packard…

The ad was apparently a screen grab of a comedy sketch that Packard did in which her character is forced by her mother to reenact a childhood moment.

Turns out Belvdere’s promotion of “comic” date rape goes way back. When Belvedere isn’t stealing images of date rape, they’re making up their own. Here’s a repost of Rape or Menage a Trois with your Vodka? which I wrote about Belvedere’s creepy and horrible ad in 2010.

Check how similar the two photos are: both black and white with a man grinning demonically in the background while the woman in front seems both terrified and to be having a good time. Message: women enjoy being raped.

The Belvedere ad guys must have marveled at the likeness between the images as well. They were probably pretty psyched when they came across Packard’s video. Wonder how they found it?

Here’s my 2010 post:

She’s blind folded, her fingers curled in fear, teeth bared, she’s screaming. Just behind her lurks a man’s face, smiling demonically, a deadringer for Jack Nicholson’s grinning psycho-killer in “The Shining.”

The latest horror movie? No, a new ad for Belvedere vodka in Gourmet Magazine’s May pasta issue. There within the pages of recipes for orecchiette with cauliflower or pappardelle with lamb ragu, a rape scene. I count three penises in this ad. Can you find them?


The three erect penises in the Belvedere Vodka ad:

(1) the Belvedere Vodka bottle

(2) the garnish of two olives and swizzle stick

(3) the shadow on the woman’s arm and blue balls (ha ha)

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2 thoughts on “Lawsuit against Belvedere Vodka consistent with its history of ‘comic’ date rape ads

  1. I have to agree with the other commenter, the 2010 ad looks more like surprise party imagery than anything threatening. She looks happy.

    The other ad, however, is horrifying. I can’t believe that passed through the approval process and nobody noticed. What the fuck.

  2. Margot, I usually agree with you (including in this case with the first ad) but in the second one, I think you’re falling victim of Apophenia, i.e. seeing patterns where none exist. The woman is obviously *grinning*, not screaming (!). The man is grinning demonically? There are two women there two, also laughing. It’s a stock image of a surprise party, not rape.
    Also, three penises? Really? Only as long as you think anything long looks like a penis. I wonder how many erect penises you’d see in ads for bananas, especially if they had round fruits close.
    I remember being surprised at this one when you first posted it, but didn’t comment. Surprised because you’re usually making very valid points, not trying to see sexism when none exists.

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