A man threatened to sue a magazine over the use of his photo in a story about how hipsters "always end up looking the same." But it turned out that he wasn't the one in the photo after all. It was just someone who apparently looked like him.
Wait ... what happened?
On Feb. 28. the MIT Technology Review ran an article titled, "The hipster effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same." The article used a Getty stock photo of a bearded man in a knit beanie and flannel shirt — someone who appeared to personify the generic definition of a hipster.
In a Twitter thread, MIT Technology Review's editor-in chief Gideon Lichfield related some of what happened next.
A few days ago we ran a piece in @techreview about some research purporting to explain the "hipster effect"—the fac… https://t.co/ic8kxv9cPJ— Gideon Lichfield (@Gideon Lichfield)1551908717.0
After the article was posted, Lichfield said that the publication "promptly got a furious email from a man who said he was the guy in the photo. He accused us of slandering him, presumably by implying he was a hipster, and of using the pic without his permission. (He wasn't too complimentary about the story, either.)"
We promptly got a furious email from a man who said he was the guy in the photo. He accused us of slandering him, p… https://t.co/N8kA52XZ9R— Gideon Lichfield (@Gideon Lichfield)1551908734.0
What did Getty say?
The site's creative director reached out to Getty Images to make sure that the model from the photo had signed a release form, Lichfield wrote. Getty revealed that the model in the photo wasn't the man threatening the lawsuit at all.
Eric contacted Getty Images. Getty looked in their archive for the model release. And came back to us with the surp… https://t.co/ILn3SEUUAC— Gideon Lichfield (@Gideon Lichfield)1551908923.0
In an interview on the Canadian radio show "As It Happens," Lichfield said that when Getty reached out to the man and said that he was not the person in their photo, he replied, "Oh, I guess you're right, it's not."
Lichfield says that the man never apologized, but that he's "happy that it's resolved."
Lichfield ended his radio interview by saying he thought the incident backed up the original article: "I think it says what the study says, which is that hipsters all look alike."