Sacha Baron Cohen.
Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Sacha Baron Cohen is taking legal action against a cannabis company that used the image of his character Borat on a billboard, the Daily Mail reported.
According to documents filed on Monday, the 49-year-old actor is suing Solar Therapeutics for copyright infringement, false advertising, and misappropriation of his character on the ad, which was previously located on a Massachusetts interstate.
The billboard, as seen in a photograph of the lawsuit, features the controversial Borat raising his thumb and exclaiming, “It’s amazing!”
“By using the billboard, the defendants have falsely conveyed to the public that Mr. Baron Cohen has endorsed their products and is affiliated with their businessAttorney David Condon wrote in the lawsuit. “By contrast, Mr. Baron Cohen has never used cannabis in his life. I would never participate in a cannabis ad campaign, for any amount of money. “
“Mr. Baron Cohen has turned down countless opportunities to license his name and / or image for commercial advertising in the United States. He believes that such publicity would weaken his credibility as an actor and as a serious social activist, ”the lawsuit adds.
According to the documents, the fellow writer and filmmaker, as well as his company, Please You Can Touch, have never allowed Borat to be used for advertising or marketing of any product or service.
Cohen’s legal team said Solar Therapeutics “took a chance” by using an image of the character under the assumption that he would never see the ad. The lawsuit also claims that Cohen is “very protective” of his image.
Another reason why the Golden Globe winner does not want his image to appear in this specific type of advertising is because he does not agree with the use of cannabis.
“With his ‘Ali G’ character, played by Baron Cohen on the HBO television series Da Ali G Show, Baron Cohen has spent much of his career poking fun at the ‘marijuana’ culture, which the defendants seem to celebrate. openly, “says the complaint.
“Mr. Baron Cohen was born into an Orthodox Jewish family, and he is proud of his cultural heritage. You do not want to get involved in the heated controversy among the Orthodox Jewish community about whether cannabis can be used according to Jewish traditions, customs and rules. Cannabis remains a controversial product that Mr. Baron Cohen has no interest in endorsing, promote or advertise.
After Cohen’s legal team sent a letter to Solar Therapeutics, the company revealed that the billboard had been removed, but refused to pay Cohen, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The comedian is now seeking “market value compensation, triple statutory damages, and punitive and other damages,” estimated at a total amount of at least $ 9 million, according to the lawsuit.