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‘Face of Safeway’ Says He’s Been Overexposed

Bill Daniel has become the face of Safeway except he’s never worked for the supermarket chain and claims in Los Angeles Superior Court that he’s not getting his fair share as the company’s front man.


“He was literally jogging in a park one day” when he was asked by a modeling agency to pose for a photo shoot for Safeway, said Karen Moskowitz, a Century City lawyer representing Daniel. “He was told he was taking a picture for use on a Safeway truck, and his understanding was that was going to be it a one time sort of thing.”


As it turns out, his image has appeared on almost everything related to Safeway and its divisions, including displays for Vons and Pavilions, the company’s Web site, and on the cover of its 2001 annual report.


Daniel, a retired manager of a gas company, says he posed for a one-time photo shoot in 2001 but did not grant permission to use his image on posters, labels, advertisements, coupon mailers, flyers, displays, packaging and television.


He is often depicted in the middle of a group of purported employees, often in reference to the diversity and employment opportunities at Safeway.


“Daniel appears to be the ‘Face of Safeway,’ as he is displayed on virtually every billboard, truck, mailer and Web site affiliated with Safeway,” says the suit. “Defendants chose to use Daniel’s picture as the ‘Face of Safeway,’ among other reasons, because Daniel is an older African American male, in an effort to promote the Safeway stores as having a diverse workforce.”


Moskowitz said Daniel never signed a contract and was paid “significantly less” than a professional model would have been. He is seeking millions of dollars in payment and profits derived from the picture, she said.


Teena Massingill, a spokeswoman for the Pleasanton-based company, said “Safeway obtained a consent form from Mr. Daniel, and he was compensated for the photo session.”

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