Law in Popular Culture

Celebrity trials inspire new wave of online merchandise

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Several online retailers are jumping on a new trend—creating and selling mugs, hats and sweatshirts that are inspired by celebrities and their legal mishaps.

Jessica Clary, who recalls being fascinated by former football player O.J. Simpson and his murder trial in the 1990s, recently spoke to the New York Times about her Etsy store, which sells trial-related merchandise. She offers mugs and T-shirts that say “Murdaugh Family Law,” a reference to Alex Murdaugh, a South Carolina lawyer who was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and son.

Clary also sells clothes that say “Gwynnocent” and “Well, I lost half a day of skiing,” a nod to actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent ski crash trial in Utah. Paltrow was ultimately found not at fault for the collision. Clary told the New York Times that her store is similar to “people with folding tables in front of the courthouse.”

Chantal Strasburger also spoke to the New York Times about selling merchandise inspired by Paltrow’s trial. She featured sweatshirts embroidered with the skiing quote and baseball hats that say, “I wish you well,” which Paltrow reportedly told her accuser after the trial ended, on TikTok. She said the video has received nearly 2 million views, and she has sold 400 products.

Strasburger told the New York Times that customers appreciate the trial merchandise because they “want to capture that moment and immortalize it forever.”

The New York Times noted that the hashtag #FreeBritney was inscribed on coffee mugs and T-shirts during the case over singer Britney Spears’ conservatorship, which was terminated in 2021.

Other merchandise has been created in connection to legal affairs involving Anna Sorokin, the fake heiress who is also known as Anna Delvey; Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of failed blood-testing startup Theranos; and Jen Shah, a star of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” who pleaded guilty for her involvement in a fraudulent telemarketing scheme.

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