Kendall and Kylie Jenner issue statement on ‘baseless’ Tupac T-shirt lawsuit

Kendall Jenner (L) and Kylie Jenner arrive for the NBCUniversal's 74th Annual Golden Globes After Party on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

Kendall and Kylie Jenner have responded to a photographer’s lawsuit that the sisters used his Tupac Shakur images without permission for their now-cancelled T-shirt line.

“The allegations made are completely false and the lawsuit is baseless,” the Jenners’ clothing company said in a statement. “There has been no infringement or violation of anyone’s rights.”

The copyright infringement lawsuit was filed Friday by a commercial photographer who shot the images portrayed on the shirts. The lawsuit by photographer Michael Miller accused the Jenner sisters of using two images of Shakur without his permission.

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Miller said the sisters “misappropriated and wrongfully exploited” his work. Miller’s suit added that the Jenners “intended to exploit his photography, let alone obtain his authorization.”

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The label’s statement says the shirts with Shakur’s images were obtained from a company that had a valid licence to sell them.

The fashion label also claims they only sold two “vintage” T-shirts with Shakur’s image on them before pulling the items from their online store, according to The Associated Press.

The Kylie + Kendall brand superimposed images of the Jenner sisters and the brand’s label over photos of musicians, including Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Ozzy Osbourne, The Doors and more.

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The shirts were sold for US$125 apiece, but they were pulled after Osbourne’s wife, Sharon, and Notorious B.I.G’s mother, Voletta Wallace, spoke out.

“Girls, you haven’t earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know… lip gloss,” Osbourne tweeted.

Wallace spoke out about the vintage T-shirts on June 29.

Wallace said that the product has no affiliation to The Notorious B.I.G. estate and the estate was never contacted about using “The Likeness of Biggie.”

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“I am not sure who told @kyliejenner and @kendalljenner that they had the right to do this. The disrespect of these girls to not even reach out to me or anyone connected to the estate baffles me,” Wallace wrote on Instagram. “I have no idea why they feel they can exploit the deaths of 2pac and my Son Christopher to sell a t-shirt.”

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“This is disrespectful, disgusting and exploitation its the worst!!!” Wallace concluded.

Credit: Instagram/VolettaWallace. Credit: Instagram/VolettaWallace

Wallace’s lawyer and the Doors issued cease-and-desist letters to the sisters over the controversial line of T-shirts, according to Rolling Stone.

Jeff Jampol, manager of the Doors and the Jim Morrison estate, spoke out about the pair for their decision to sell the unauthorized clothing.

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“This is a case of people who fashion themselves as celebrities who are famous for being well-known but don’t actually do anything trying to utilize and steal and capitalize on the legacies of those who actually did do something and created amazing art and messages,” Jampol said. “It’s ironic, at least, and criminal, at worst, both morally, ethically and artistically.”

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Jampol also said the surviving members of the band had “zero contact” with the Jenners.

The sisters issued an identical message on Twitter.

“These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists,” the statement read.

“We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in anyway [sic]. The tee shirts have been pulled from retail and all images have been removed. We will use this as an opportunity to learn from these mistakes and again, we are very sorry.”

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—With files from The Associated Press

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