Harambee Stars captain sues company for using his image without consent

Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama.

Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama has sued an oil refinery company for using his image without consent.

Mr Wanyama, who plays for English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspurs, accused Menengai Oil Refineries Ltd of illegally using his photos to promote their products during the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt last month.

He claimed that his images published by the company suggested that he had endorsed their products when he is contracted with other companies who pay him to promote their businesses.

“I did not consent to my image being used by the company. Even after I sent them an official complain, they still use my images on their website and online advertisements which is disturbing since I have a contract with other companies,” said Wanyama (above) in an application filed at the High Court yesterday.

He stated that as a national hero whose actions have inspired many people, the use of his image is likely to influence consumers to buy a particular brand yet he has not gained anything from Menengai Oil Refineries Ltd.

Although he did not specify the amount, the Harambee Stars midfielder wants the company compelled to pay him damages resulting from sales of products which they used his image to advertise.

Wanyama in his affidavit described himself as the first Kenyan to play in the English Premier League, the first Kenyan to play in the Scottish Premier League, the first East African to score a goal against Barcelona and the first East African to score at Wembley Stadium in England.

He swore that his friends notified him on June 21 that Menengai was using his images to promote their products on social media and confirmed the information when he logged into his Twitter account.

“The wording of their caption alongside my image created the impression that I am the official brand ambassador of their company. I wish to categorically state that I did not consent to the use of my images,” swore Wanyama.

He added that the company selected his photo in a bid to hoodwink the public into buying their products because of his high status in football.

He argued that the use of his image created a conflict of interest with other companies which have contracted him to promote their products and could lead to loss of business opportunities.

“I have worked hard to build my brand and reputation over the years and as a result, I am a brand ambassador of Adidas, Multichoice and Safaricom who compensate me for the use of my image rights,” said Wanyama.

He swore that the company infringed on his rights by selectively using his image when other firms who also supported Harambee Stars during the Africa Cup of Nations did not infringe on the rights of any player.

He added that his club also has a partnership with other brands which the players promote, and which is in direct competition with the company’s brands.