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Storage Wars' Brandi Passante Was Once A Victim Of Identity Theft

Brandi Passante has been one of the most loved personalities on "Storage Wars," even after splitting with Jarrod Schulz and becoming more of a solo character on the show. According to an interview with The Orange County Register, while the show originally approached Schulz to appear on the show and to use his thrift store, called Now and Then, as a location, it was Passante who caught the producers' eye. "They asked me, 'Who's the girl up front?'" Schulz recalled to the Register. "'Would she mind being on TV?'"

Despite their sudden stardom, the pair did their best to keep a strict separation between the show and their home life. In an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), "You cannot bring your work life into your home life so whatever conflict we ever had during the day, we let it go when we come home." Still, whatever boundaries Passante had in place couldn't have prepared her for what happened to her in 2012 when someone dragged her name through the mud.

Someone made an adult film and claimed it was her (it wasn't)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, in October of 2012, Passante filed a lawsuit against Hunter Moore, proprietor of the website IsAnyoneUp.com, for posting an adult film that he claimed featured Brandi Passante. While the video was fake, using an actress with similar facial features, some took it for the real thing, sending messages on her Twitter account like "Can't wait to see more of the video" and "Love the pics.". According to the lawsuit, "The Video disseminated by Moore not only contains images that disparage Passante, but also contains a virus that poses a threat to viewers who attempt to watch it. Passante has suffered emotional, physical and psychological damage, including damage to her personal and professional reputation"

After the lawsuit first came to public attention, AVN made the argument that it was debatable whether or not Moore intended people to believe that the video was of Passante. Citing precedent from Jerry Fallwell's case against Larry Flynt, Adult Video News argues that the video could be seen as a parody and pointed to at least one website where the video was posted that took a skeptical view towards the video. Milord Law Group, on the other hand, saw the case going either way, pointing out that Passante's case hinged on a copyright infringement claim, which there were some grounds for, but also that Moore may be protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

According to the aforementioned Hollywood Reporter article, Passante did win her lawsuit, but a judge lowered her reward from the $2.5 million that Passante sought down to a mere $750 plus court costs. While the payout wasn't as much as she hoped for, Moore was also forbidden from distributing the video any further, so at least that much of it was a happy ending for Passante.