Scarlett Johansson wins French novel lookalike case

PARIS (AFP) - Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson won damages on Wednesday against a French author whose novel features a character resembling the starlet who is treated as a sex object.

A Paris court ordered novelist Gregoire Delacourt to pay Johansson 2,500 euros (S$4,260) for his "hurtful and demeaning" depiction of a female lookalike in his book The First Thing We Look At.

The actress had sought 50,000 euros in compensation after accusing Delacourt of using her image to promote the novel, which has sold 100,000 copies since it was published in 2013.

The first part of the book is told through the eyes of a garage mechanic who "resembles a better version of Ryan Gosling" and thinks the book's heroine is Johansson when she turns up on his doorstep.

The woman's looks means men see her as a sex object and the character is involved in a series of amourous relationships that prosecutor Vincent Toledano claimed "never existed".

"For Scarlett Johansson, the fact that she is attributed two relationships that she never mentioned herself is hurtful and demeaning," the court said.

The actress also sought an injunction to stop the novel being translated or adapted for cinema, which was thrown out by the court.

Johansson's lawyer declared himself "extremely pleased" with the verdict, while Delacourt's defence team called the compensation "derisory".

Speaking when the actress launched the case in May, defence lawyer Anne Veil said if Delacourt had known Johansson would have "kicked up such a racket, he would have chosen someone else".

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