Xante pear-flavored liqueur is giving publishing heiress Lydia Hearst a headache.
The image-conscious socialite claims in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan on Thursday that her “reputation and career” have been irreparably spoiled since her photo and an interview with her appeared in an ad that ran in the glossy celebrity platform, Gotham magazine, although she never agreed to shill for the hooch.
In addition to the liquor distributor, Hearst has also targeted celebrity schmoozer, Jason Binn, the publisher of Gotham, and his publishing company, Niche Media.
In the December issue of Gotham, which is geared toward “celebrating and chronicling the most influential power players and tastemakers in the Big Apple,” the photo of and interview with the 26-year-old model/actor ran in a reoccurring feature called XIP Spotlight, which is sponsored by the booze distributor Kindred Spirits of North America.
Others featured in the column have been event planners, obscure models and a little known singer/songwriter named Katie DiCicco.
Binn, who once told the New York Observer that Donald Trump was his best friend, also publishes upmarket titles Aspen Peak, Hamptons and Boston Common magazines.
Xante touts itself as “an intimate result of a menage a trois between the finest French Cognacs, the affection of French Limousine Oak” and “the perfect penetration of pear.” It’s a “transformational boost to the Golden Age of Women,” according to its Web site.
“She was never compensated and she never consented,” said Hearst’s lawyer, Eric Richman. “It’s a misappropriation of her image.”
Binn told Adweek that he has not seen the lawsuit, but said the liquor company, not his magazine, created the advertisement.
“The issue is not with Gotham magazine,” he said. “The issue is with Xante. It’s an advertorial.”
The publisher said that neither Hearst nor her lawyers had not been approached him about the ad prior to the filing of the lawsuit.
“I like Lydia a lot,” he said. “I’ve known her and her family for quite some time. It’s unfortunate for it to happen the way it did.”
Kindred did not return repeated calls for comment.