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Oscars Gift Bags: Not All Glitz and Glam

| by Tehya Faulk

Oscar nominees walked away from Sunday’s award show more than two hundred thousand dollars richer, thanks to the illustrious swag bags. 

Included in the bags were breast lifting treatments, vibrators, and three complimentary nights at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Italy, reports CNBC’s Sarah Whitten. Even if the majority of nominees did not walk away with the grand prize, they can cushion the blow with an all-access trip to Israel, also included in the bags. 

The glitz and glam of the Oscar’s consolation prizes, however, was underpinned by a hefty lawsuit carried out by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, reports The Atlantic. The Academy filed a lawsuit against Distinctive Assets, the long-time provider of the swag bags. The Academy was reportedly unhappy with the contents of the bags, viewing vibrators and expensive condoms as unwelcome supplements to Hollywood’s coveted golden statue.  

The lawsuit has brought an overwhelming amount of attention to the lavishness of the bags, which are worth more than an average American’s yearly salary. 

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“This is just straight-up marketing,” said Lash Fary, the owner of Distinctive Assets, to The Atlantic’s Megan Garber. 

He wanted to make it clear that the actual contents of the bags should not be the topic of conversation. Instead, he wants to focus on the fact that marketers give away luxurious products in the hopes that celebrities will use them and ultimately promote them. 

Fary’s legal battle with The Academy centers on the question of trademark infringement. 

“Distinctive Assets' continued use of the Academy's trademarks not only infringes the Academy's trademarks, but it is also likely to dilute the distinctiveness of the Academy's famous trademarks and tarnish their goodwill," states the Academy’s lawsuit, according to CNBC.

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Though Distinctive Assets operates independently from the Oscars, the Academy believes that this company is using its trademarks for profit. 

"Distinctive Assets has been falsely representing that its extravagant ‘gift bags’ are distributed by the Academy,” said the Academy in an statement emailed to Fortune.

The outcome of the lawsuit has not yet been determined.

Sources: CNBC, The Atlantic, Fortune / Photo credit: Palm Beach Post

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