Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis sue Mail Online over 'off-duty' paparazzi pics with baby daughter

Actors Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and their baby daughter are suing Mail Online over paparazzi photographs published of them while "off-duty".

A privacy claim – filed under the names of Kutcher, Kunis and baby Wyatt Kutcher – has been filed in the High Court in London over the pictures, which were taken in California. 

As well as claiming unspecified damages for a breach of the Data Protection Act, the family are also claiming money made by Mail Online from its "Femail fashion finder" feature, which picked out items of their clothing and linked to where it could be bought online.

Fashion finder is a commercial feature on stories whereby Mail Online provides links to retailers selling clothing which is similar, or the same as, that worn by celebrities. 

The family are suing over two articles published on Mail Online, which remain live. 

The first, headlined “PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher coo over little Wyatt on family day at the beach”, was published on 27 January and was based on photographs taken "surreptitiously in a parking lot in Los Angeles" when Wyatt was less than four months old.

The story included "close-up" pictures of the baby's face. These were pixelated the following day after a complaint from the family's lawyer.

The High Court claim form said: "Save for one image of [Wyatt Kutcher] as a new born, [Kutcher and Kunis] have not released to the world at large any images of [her], nor have they consented to the publication of an image of [her]."

The second article, published on 18 May this year, was headlined: “Doting father Ashton Kutcher holds baby daughter Wyatt close to his chest as he enjoys family day out with wife Mila Kunis and her parents”. The baby’s face was pixelated in the accompanying images.

Within the first story, Mail Online's "fashion finder" identified shoes Kunis was wearing and invited readers to buy them. According to the claim form, the advert said: "Step it up like Mila in a pair of Sauconys… She’s usually all glammed up on the red carpet, but ever since she had her adorable baby girl, Mila Kunis has been very low-key. On a recent outing with partner Ashton Kutcher and little Wyatt, the star kept it casual in a graphic pint t-shirt, cropped jeans, and Saucony trainers… We’ve found Mila’s pair for just £60 in alternative colours."

The family claimed this information “constituted personal data” and the advertisement was removed “on a date unknown following a complaint by [the family] to the manufacturer of the trainers”.

The second article picked out Kutcher's "slick sweater". It said: “Ashton might have been hanging out with Mila’s parents, but he’s not changing himself for anyone, choosing to stick with her rather casual style. When you’ve got an eight month old on your arm though, it’s best to keep your look low-key anyway. But off-duty vibes doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish – we were digging Ashton’s sweater here."

The family is being represented by Hugh Tomlinson QC, who works for Matrix Chambers and is also chair of campaign group Hacked Off. 

The claim form said: “Family outings are not public events but are obviously private and it is reasonable to expect that they will not be photographed published to the whole world.

“The fact that [Kutcher and Kunis] are well –known to the public does not diminish the expectation that whilst ‘off-duty’ (as the articles described them) the details of their family outings and/or images of those family outings will be published to the world at large."

The claim form also claimed there was “manifestly no public interest in the publication”.

On the Femail fashion finder feature, the form said: "[Mail Online] has profited from its wrongdoing by using [one of the photographs] to sell trainers to the readers of Mail Online and [another] to sell sweatshirts to the readers of the Mail Online.

"Further information cannot by given until disclosure of the precise arrangements for the payment of commission or other remuneration on such sales as a result of publication on Mail Online. As a result, [Kutcher and Kunis] are entitled to an account of such profits or to the payment of restitutionary damages."

The family are claiming from Mail Online a declaration that Wyatt’s DPA rights have been “infringed”, damages for Kunis and Kutcher and payment of all sums made from the clothing adverts.

A Mail Online spokesperson said: “Mail Online will be vigorously defending the claim and have no further comment to make”.

Last year, Mail Online was ordered to pay £10,000 in damages to Paul Weller's children after publishing unpixelated photographs of them on a family outing.

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