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Model Sues, Claims New School Used Her Photo In Ads Without Permission

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A model has filed a lawsuit against the New School for over $10 million, saying the school used her image in ads without her permission.

And making matters even worse, she said she had no makeup on.

As CBS 2’ Alice Gainer reported Friday, Christine Walker graduated from the New School in 2012. When her picture was used in an ad promoting the school in 2013, she was shocked.

“My photograph ended up showing up on trains – like, I don’t know, maybe 10 different trains, trains and in the — and I got word it was in the Metro-North newspaper; I found out it was in a pamphlet,” Walker said.

Walker said she was the face of the campaign without her consent.

“I was really outraged, because I never gave them my permission to use the photograph,” Walker said.

The picture was taken during Walker’s Italian class when she was an undergraduate.

“My Italian teacher just said, ‘You know, a photographer is in class; just go about your business,’” she said.

Walker said no one ever mentioned what the photographer was taking pictures for, and no one ever contacted her to let her know her picture was being used.

“I immediately contacted an entertainment lawyer,” Walker said.

Walker, a model and actress, said she is even more upset because her instant notoriety as the “train girl” typecast her, and prevented her from certain auditions.

“I couldn’t go on any kind of — it made me the student; you know, the face for the school. So I was looked at as the student,” she said.

Despite her face looking down in the ads, Walker said many people recognized her.

A cease and desist letter was sent to the school. The ads came down from the school’s website, but Walker said they have continued to run on the subways.

She has now filed a lawsuit to the tune of $10.4 million.

“This is part of a larger problem in universities of, frankly, using undergraduate students for their own profit incentives,” said attorney Craig Penn.

Walker said she paid money to attend the school, so they should pay her for the work she unknowingly did for them.

“It’s this big artistic university,” Walker said. “They know what’s going on, and they chose to single me out.”

Walker was never compensated by the school, the suit claimed. The lawsuit demands $125,000 for the use of her image, $250,000 for emotional distress, and $10 million for punitive damages.

The New School had no comment late Friday afternoon.

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