Tampa, Florida -- Nearly a year after 10 News met the face of the infamous and widely-known "hot mug shot" meme, it's been reported that she is now suing a website who played a part in her publicity.
In April of 2013, 10 News sat down with Meagan Simmons, then 27, as she explained the story behind her mug shot, and how she felt years later when it went viral.
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Simmons said she was flattered at first, calling it nice and even 'funny". But fun soon turned to fear when people realized it wasn't just her booking pic that was public record, but her address was too.
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The mother of four said people from all over the world messaged with talks of visiting her Zephyrhills home. Some even mentioned marriage.
That, and the fact that Simmons said she had turned her life around, caused her to resent the meme. But the last straw came when she stumbled upon her picture in a possible advertisement.
Simmons is now suing Instantcheckmate.com, a background check website she accuses of using her picture in an ad without compensating her, or getting her permission, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
According to the Times, the ad in question features the popular mug shot and the tagline, "Sometimes the cute ones aren't that innocent." The Checkmate logo and a link to the site appears below.
"At the end of the day, this is actually about intellectual property," Simmons' attorney, Matthew Crist told the Times. "If someone is going to use your image they need to pay you for it."
On Tuesday, Instant Checkmate issued a statement defending its use of Simmons' picture.
"Instant Checkmate's publication of her already widely-published arrest booking photo could not have caused her any invasion of privacy or emotional distress," the statement read, in part. "To be clear, we did not use Ms. Simmons' name or any other identifying information in any advertisement. Nor did we use her arrest booking photo in a manner to suggest that she was endorsing or a spokesperson for Instant Checkmate."
Click here to read Instant Checkmate's full statement. (PDF)
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