MANHATTAN — A Columbia University co-ed who models to pay her tuition has accused Volvo of making her look like an escort, a new lawsuit charged.
Carolyn Giles, 23, is suing the Swedish carmaker, the Ford Models agency and Hertz Corporation for $10 million, claiming she didn't get paid for a photo of her used in a series of ads — including one on a dating website sponsored by the automaker next to the headline, "Spend a night with Swedish model of your choice!"
The lawsuit claims the online ad made "it appear that she may be an escort, with extreme sexual and inappropriate connotations and innuendos."
Giles, who is represented by Ford, had contracted with Volvo in 2007. The deal only allowed the manufacturer to use her image in its S40 series campaign, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan Civil Supreme Court.
But in winter 2012, Giles learned her photo had appeared in ads for another Volvo model, the V50, in Europe, Asia and South America, the lawsuit said.
She then saw her face on fastimpressions.com, an Australian singles site sponsored by Volvo. The site showed her face next to the suggestive "Swedish model" headline and above a caption that says "rev up your love life."
"This looks like a picture out of an ad for the old Yellow Pages for an escort service," said her lawyer, David Jaroslawicz. "To use it in what's literally a sleazy and inappropriate way is just wrong."
Giles is also suing Hertz, accusing it of using her photo in the rental car giant's tourism brochures and in a Nov. 22, 2011, report it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The raven-haired beauty is suing Ford Models because it failed to protect her interests, the lawsuit said.
Ford Models, Volvo and Hertz did not immediately return calls for comment.