The detrimental effects of invoking Moral Clauses as sufficient ground for the termination of celebrity or talent endorsements

Lumonya, Winnie Ivy
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Strathmore University
The dissertation is a study of how the enforcement of moral clauses in endorsement contracts has led to the violation of the right to freedom of expression and privacy rights. For the last century, the inclusion of moral clauses has been a common norm in endorsement contracts in America. They are generally upheld by the courts and are added to contracts by endorsers in order to curb the risk of the celebrity’s behaviour negatively affecting the consumption of the goods they endorse. The paper focusses on how America has treated the enforcement of the clauses, anticipating that with the growth of endorsements in Kenya, they will soon be implemented in celebrities’ contracts.
Reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. A moral clause in contract law, is a provision in a contract that gives the endorser the permission to end the agreement when the endorsee behaves in a way that sheds negative light on his or her own public image and as a consequence, damages the reputation of the endorsee by association. The consent to use a celebrity or talent’s image for advertising is attained through these endorsement contracts. Celebrity endorsement is a kind of branding where a celebrity acts as the brand ambassador by lending their personality to the product.