Boursorama is under fire for discriminating against dual citizens.
Celebs will hock anything these days -- even stuff they cannot use.
Brad Pitt has been slammed for advertising a French bank that's being sued for not accepting American-born customers.
Boursorama is one of a number of French online banks facing a lawsuit from l'Association des Américains Accidentels — the Accidental Americans Association — who claim they are being discriminated against because of the dual citizenship most of them do not want.
The group is made up of more than 900 French citizens who have no connection to the US, other than being born there; 306 of them are suing.
"I find it regrettable that Brad Pitt has agreed to represent Boursorama because it is a bank that discriminates against US people," AAA President Fabien Lehagre told TooFab. "The Accidental Americans Association filed a complaint 6 months ago against this bank."
In the English-language, French-subtitled ad, Pitt strolls around New York extolling the benefits of his Boursorama bank card — except his dialogue is completely inaudible.
"We do not need Brad Pitt to recommend Boursorama Bank," goes the somewhat-ironic tagline at the end, "because no one does it better than our customers."
Lehagre told TooFab the bank had spent around $6million on the Brad Pitt ad — "even as it justifies its refusal to open accounts to people of American nationality because of the costs of managing such clients would be too high."
Under the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), the US requires foreign banks to provide financial information on US citizens abroad, or face possible fines — even if those US citizens do not necessarily want to be US citizens.
As well as having to file US tax returns, the "Accidental Americans" have to obtain and provide information such as their Social Security numbers — which many of them do not have or want.
But without the documents, the lawsuit claims, members have been prevented from taking out loans or even opening bank accounts.
While dual citizens can renounce their American citizenship, it can be a lengthy and costly affair — more costly in fact than obtaining US citizenship.
In July the president of Federation Bancaire Francais (the French Banking Association) Laurent Mignon warned the country may be forced to close the existing 40,000 bank accounts owned by people with US citizenship because of the headaches FATCA has caused.
The AAA, many of whom do not even speak English, are also considering taking legal action to prevent the Brad Pitt ad from being shown.
According to Le Parisien, George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio were also initially considered for the ad.