If you picked up a copy of USA Today on Friday (May 2), you might have been thrown off by a full-page ad with the big, bold headline, "Ignition interlocks — A good idea for," above the infamous post-DUI-arrest mug shot of Lindsay Lohan. The next line reads, "But a bad idea for us," over a series of pictures of a happy bride and groom toasting each other, some smiling young adults hoisting their brews and martinis, and three pals clinking beers over a meal.
The ad opposes the mandatory use of ignition interlocks, also known as in-car breathalyzers, which require drivers to breathe into a tube to test their blood-alcohol level, cutting off the ignition if the driver is above the legal limit. The ad argues that the devices "are a great tool for getting hard-core drunk drivers off our roads. However, activists now want to put one in every car in America. That means the end of moderate and responsible drinking prior to driving. No more champagne toasts at weddings, no more wine with dinner, no more beers at a ballgame."
Lohan's criminal lawyer Blair Berk reacted angrily to the use of her client's image in the ad and released a statement saying, "USA Today is idiotic to run such an irresponsible advertisement suggesting that drinking and driving is some kind of American 'tradition' we should protect. Not identifying that this ad was paid for by the liquor and restaurant industries is profoundly reckless. Drunk white businessmen, drunk housewives out for girls night out and drunk wedding parties should be kept off the roads of America. Lindsay Lohan fully endorses ignition interlock devices, which have been well-proven to save lives."
A spokesperson for the organization behind the campaign (which is not named in the ad), the American Beverage Institute, told MTV News that the ad pictures Lohan because of her recent high-profile DUIs. "We looked at many different celebrities who had repeat offenses or were convicted of DUI with high blood-alcohol levels," ABI managing director Sarah Longwell said, adding that the campaign will continue in the future, likely using images of other famous celebrities.
Berk would not comment on the report from TMZ.com that Lohan had contacted counsel to discuss the legality of the use of her image. Longwell said the mug shot is public information and therefore was fair game for use in the ad. "The fact is, what we're doing is making an example that people understand, of what a repeat offender looks like," she said. "The use of a celebrity image is helpful — this person has driven drunk multiple times — when you're finding the fine line between who should and should not have one of these devices."
The ABI is a trade group representing hundreds of American restaurants with the mission of protecting "responsible, on-premise consumption of adult beverages." According to Longwell, the organization is attempting to block multiple legislative and government efforts to make the interlocks mandatory in every vehicle.