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MediaJune 8, 2016

A cease-and-desist letter to Max Key: please stop stealing my look


After Max Key flagrantly and repeatedly copied her style, The Spinoff’s editorial assistant Madeleine Chapman was left no option but to hire legal representation in a bid to uphold the integrity of her personal brand.

Mr Max Key
St Stephens Avenue

Dear Mr Key:

The Spinoff Legal Counsel represents MISS MADELEINE CHAPMAN. If you are represented by legal counsel, please direct this letter to your attorney immediately and have your attorney notify us of such representation.

We are writing to notify you that your unlawful copying of BLEACHED HAIR, FLAG BANDANA, and DEAD EYES infringes upon our client’s exclusive copyrights. Accordingly, you are hereby directed to


Max Key's repeated copyright infringement has caused Madeleine Chapman significant distress
Max Key’s repeated copyright infringement has caused Madeleine Chapman significant distress

My client, Madeleine Chapman, is the owner of a copyright in various aspects of “unfashionable looks”. Under New Zealand copyright law, Madeleine Chapman’s copyrights have been in effect since July 2015 when such unfashionable looks became a core part of her personal brand.

It has come to our attention that you, MAX KEY, have been copying my client’s trademark looks for an extended period of time. We have photographs of your unlawful imitation to preserve as evidence that we now present.



November 19 2015: My client came across a photo of you, Max Key, that bore a striking resemblance to her own image. My client compared the two images and posted the comparison to her personal Instagram and Facebook pages. The post received 20 likes, a disappointing response for my client.



May 24 2016: A  photo of you, Max Key, captioned “Draco Malfoy”, showing you with newly bleached blonde hair surfaced online. My client was once again struck by an eerie similarity to her own image. After some research, my client discovered that you bore an uncanny resemblance to an image taken of her at an event on December 23 2015. My client had bleached her hair at home, burning her scalp, in an attempt to distance herself from your public look. Seeing you replicate her look once again saddened my client deeply. As a result, my client once again posted the comparison to her social media profiles, tagging you in the post in an effort to bring your attention to such blatant copyright infringement.

You did not respond.

The post received 71 likes, a small consolation.



June 7 2016: On July 4 2015, my client celebrated Independence Day in the United States of America. My client purchased a “stars and stripes” bandana ironically and subsequently wore it while filming a parody renovation video entitled “Extreme Makeover: State Housing Edition” which was released in November 2015. On June 7, not two weeks after your second infringement, an image of you was published with you wearing an identical bandana and sporting the same dead eyes that my client has become famous for. By wearing the same bandana with an earnestness bordering on comical, you have tarnished my client’s reputation as a perpetrator of irony.

These actions taken by you, Max Key, have caused distress to my client as well as created confusion in regards to her own identity.

May 29 2016: While shopping for groceries, my client was addressed as “Sir” by an employee of Countdown. My client blames you for this misunderstanding.

June 8 2016: In an attempt to make light of a distressing situation, my client photoshopped her face onto your body 


Upon seeing that her face was whiter than your fundamentally white body, my client, a half-Samoan woman, experienced a cultural crisis in which she questioned her ethnic makeup and the integrity of her allegedly Samoan mother. My client blames you for this episode.

We demand that you immediately (A) cease and desist all unlawful copying of “bleached hair”, “flag bandana”, and “dead eyes” and (B) provide us with prompt written assurance within ten (10) days that you will cease and desist from further infringement of my client’s copyrighted looks.

If you do not comply with this cease and desist demand within this time period, my client is prepared to take legal action.

As a final note, my client wishes to acknowledge that such a comparison is less a legal matter and more a monumental cause for shame and expects that you would share the same feelings. As such, it is in your own best interests to distance your aesthetic from that of my client. This will be beneficial both to my client as a human woman and to you as a human man.

If you or your attorney have any questions, please contact me directly.


The Spinoff Legal Team (on behalf of Madeleine Chapman)

Read more of The Spinoff’s coverage of the Prime Minister’s extraordinarily handsome son here

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