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Octavia Spencer Sensa Lawsuit: Weight Loss Company Withholds $700,000 for Hashtagged Tweets

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  • Octavia Spencer at SAG Awards
    Reuters
    Octavia Spencer on the red carpet after winning a Screen Actors' Guild Award Jan. 29, 2012.
By Daniel Distant, Christian Post Reporter
August 30, 2013|9:40 am

Octavia Spencer's Sensa deal has gone awry, and as a result the Academy Award-winning actress decided to sue the weight loss company for failed payments of $700,000. Originally, the $1,250,000 total was to be paid in installments, but once the company saw that their sponsored tweets from Spencer were being tagged with the hashtag "#spon," they "schemed" to find a reason to stop paying the actress, according to her lawsuit.

Octavia Spencer's Sensa lawsuit, filed at the L.A. Superior Court this week, says that the weight loss company is guilty of "breach-of-contract and fraud." Spencer lost 20 pounds over five months and maintained the lost weight at weigh-ins, but purposely passed up $3 million from another company to avoid certain parts of advertising- "before and after" photos and tabloid ads were initially rejected by "The Help" star, but she initially relented. She also said that she would only promote a "healthier lifestyle," not extreme weight loss.

Sensa, whose product is sprinkled on food to "help you eat less and feel full faster," according to their website, claimed to have a specific problem with the way Spencer's ads were received. On Facebook, her posts received less likes than other posts, and her Twitter posts, which she insisted on tagging with the hashtag "#spon," were apparently not pre-approved by Sensa, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Bet you've seen my @SensaWeightloss commercials & wondered if it's the real deal? I'm here to say it work! #spon," read one tweet from the actress. The hashtag conforms to new Federal Trade Commission guidelines to "use disclosure language" when promoting companies for money.

Sensa also had an issue with the Oscar-winner's exposure, which was much higher right after her role in "The Help."

"Sensa stated that its research showed that Spencer was only relevant to its target audience when her awareness in the media was high," the lawsuit read, revealing information from a brand meeting in May. "Sensa further admitted that its research indicated that while some consumers recognized Spencer's weight loss success, many did not recognize who she was or that she had lost weight."

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However, Spencer's legal team from Freddman & Taitelman said the company was simply looking for ways to get out of continuing to pay the actress. In June, payments stopped completely.

"Sensa manufactures and markets a diet product designed to trick one's brain," the lawsuit says. "Therefore, it's not surprising that it would manufacture allegations against its most prominent spokesperson, Octavia Spencer."

 

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