Each year there is controversy over the valuable Oscars gift bags, handed out to nominees, all hoping to win an Academy Award.
The Inquisitr has reported before on the various odd and valuable items contained in the Oscars gift bags, handed out to nominees at the Academy Awards in previous years but this year things are running a little differently with the Academy taking a firmer stand against the company putting the valuable swag bags together.
Reportedly, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences has always been miffed about the gift bags, but this year they are taking things further and are suing Distinctive Assets for trademark infringement relating to the Oscars gift bags.
Distinctive Assets is a company based in Los Angeles that specializes in product promotion through celebrity placement, obviously a good idea when it comes to the Oscars. However the Academy says the company is intentionally attempting to establish a connection to the Oscars and to profit from the Academy’s trademarks without their permission.
— The Verge (@verge) February 19, 2016
An Academy spokesperson said Wednesday that Distinctive Assets is falsely representing that the “extravagant ‘gift bags’ [are] redistributed by the Academy, at its direction, or with its endorsement or approval.”
The statement went on to stress that the Academy has no affiliation with Distinctive Assets and does not hire the company, consult with it or assist in distributing the gift bags.
“All reports of an ‘official Oscar gift bag,’ or a fight bag distributed at the Oscars containing the products Distinctive Assets promotes, are untrue.”
The lawsuit launched by the Academy also says that by using the Academy’s trademarks, the current practice is likely to “dilute the distinctiveness of the Academy’s famous trademarks and tarnish their goodwill.”
With the Academy already involved in the messy #OscarsSoWhite controversy, this is the last thing they reportedly need.
— The Cut (@TheCut) February 19, 2016
This isn’t the first time there has been a clash over the distribution of the unofficial and highly-priced gift bags. Variety quotes a spokesman from the Academy as saying, “Last year, the Academy attempted to address Distinctive Assets‘ false and infringing representation without litigation. We had no choice but to file a lawsuit.”
Included in this year’s coveted and highly priced Oscars gift bag (with an approximate overall value of $200,000) are a luxury all-expenses paid VIP trip to Israel worth $55,000, a 15-day walking tour of Japan priced at $45,000, unlimited Audi rentals from Silvercar for a year valued at $45,000, and three private sessions with a “celebrity wellness expert” Jay Cardiello.
As reported by Variety, the Oscars gift bags also include some “less than wholesome” items, like a $5,500 certificate for plastic surgery, a $1,900 “vampire breast lift,” a $250 sex toy and a $250 marijuana vaporizer.
— Jason Binn (@JasonBinn) February 20, 2016
The luxury, all-expenses paid trip to Israel has caused its own controversy. Reportedly funded by that country’s government, that gift has come under fire from Artists for Palestine U.K. The organization is reportedly asking attendees who receive the gift to “give your bag to a Palestinian refugee.”
According to the Times of Israel, the luxury trip to Israel comes courtesy of the country’s Tourism Ministry and ExploreIsrael.com. Reportedly the ministry “embraced the idea.” That gift includes all land arrangements for the travelers along with hotels, transportation, guides and all local activities.
Despite the lawsuit, the Oscars gift bags will be presented to twenty-six notables at the ceremony, including the five Oscar nominees for best director, four nominees each for best actor, best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress, as well Chris Rock, the current master of ceremonies at the Academy Awards to be held on February 28 this year.