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Like any business, show business has a lot of inner workings that they would prefer you didn’t see. Unfortunately, thanks to some loose branding, the celebrity endorsement racket is getting a very public airing.

The lovely Charlize Theron has been appearing in ads for Raymond Weil for a while now, but apparently she had a little trouble keeping her brands in order and accidentally showed up at a film festival wearing a Christian Dior watch. That bit of brand treason may end up costing Theron $20 mil if Weil’s lawyers get their way. Oops.

Leaving aside whether this was a wise PR move—and whether the Raymond Weil folks will ever be able to show their face in L.A. again—it’s a remarkable peek into the less glamorous corners of celebrity sponsorship. Icons from Boris Becker to the Cloon sign on for eight figure deals, but they give up more than you might think. For the length of the deal, they’ll wear what they’re given, regardless of how tempting the fob across the aisle may look. So much for personal style…

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom