Woman says website is using booking picture without her permission or compensation.
TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) — The woman who is the face of a widely circulated "hot mug shot" meme is reportedly suing a website who played a part in her publicity.
On popular sites such as the Chive and Reddit, Meagan Simmons, 27, is pictured in an orange jumpsuit- eyes slightly glassy, cheeks and nose a tinge of pink from tears shed, but looking beautiful nonetheless.
The photo is her nearly 3-year-old mug shot, taken after a drunken driving arrest on July 25, 2010.
In an April 2013 interview with WTSP-TV, Simmons said she was ashamed of what happened, but figured since she spent only eight hours in jail, and had the charge dropped to reckless driving, the incident was not that big a deal.
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 photo that was public record, but also her address.
The mother of four said people from all over the world messaged with talks of visiting her Zephyrhills, Fla., home. Some even mentioned marriage.
"It was nice and funny at first, and then it started getting scary because my address is on there," Simmons said in the interview. "It's scary when people message you talking about coming to your house and what your house looks like. It's getting to the point where it's not funny (because) I have four little people to worry about, not just myself."
The unsolicited attention, 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."
"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."