I was batting around the following issue with a student today. Suppose that a celebrity makes a positive statement about a product or is seen publicly using that product. The product manufacturer, horrified by any association with this person, issues a statement saying that they are not associated with the celebrity.
Would the celebrity have a right of publicity claim under these circumstances? One could argue that the corporate statement is an unauthorized use of the celebrity’s name and image for commercial gain. In this example, though, you would have a negative or reverse endorsement of the brand. The firm would say that their brand is defined in part by not being somebody.
Presumably, a firm has some First Amendment interest (and a Lanham Act interest) in disassociating itself from unwanted people or actions. What limits, if any, are there on these interests?