Seven cops from the Adams County Sheriff's Office are alleging that Afroman – whose legal name is Joseph Foreman – illegally profited from including them in his music videos and social media posts. The lawsuit alleges that Foreman “created dozens of videos and images of Plaintiffs’ personas and posted them on various social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Snap Chat [sic], TicTok [sic] and Instagram,” according to court documents obtained by FOX19 News.
The cops are suing Afroman for invasion of privacy, which is pretty ironic given that the footage in question comes from them invading his home. Last summer, a local judge issued a search warrant claiming probable cause to search Foreman's home for evidence of drug possession, trafficking, and kidnapping. An armed SWAT team kicked down Foreman's door and rifled through all his belongings, but only found a vape pen and a couple joints.
Afroman recorded the raid on his home security system, and later used the video in several social media posts. He also used the footage in music videos for his recent songs “Lemon Pound Cake” and “Will You Help Me Repair My Door,” which both directly reference the raid. In the lawsuit, the cops are alleging that Foreman clearly shows their faces in the video without their consent, causing them “emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation,” FOX19 reports.
Including a person in a music video without their consent is a misdemeanor offense in Ohio. In his defense, Foreman is alleging that the cops lost their right to privacy because they stole money from him during the raid. In addition to the inconsequential amount of weed they found, cops also seized $4,000 in cash from Foreman's house. Officials later returned the cash, but according to Afroman, came up several hundred dollars short.
“My video footage is my property,” Afroman said in a social media post. “I used it to identify criminals, who broke into my house, stole my money and disconnected my home security system... After they stole my money they became criminals. After they became criminals they lost their right of privacy.”
The lawsuit demands that Afroman and his media company remove any videos containing their likeness. The cops aren't willing to stop with this standard cease and desist order, though. The suit alleges that Afroman has directly profited from unauthorized use of the footage and demands that he give the cops a cut of his profits. Specifically, cops are demanding proceeds from his songs, music videos, and live shows. And on top of that, cops also want a cut of Foreman's Afroman brands, which include beer, merch – and weed.
It may be hard to successfully argue that the cops themselves were directly responsible for the success of these new videos. But unfortunately, Afroman already shouted them out for helping him gain millions of social media views. “Thank you for getting me 5.4 MILLION hits on TikTok I couldn’t have done it without you obviously! Congratulations again you’re famous for all the wrong reasons,” he wrote in an Instagram post, according to FOX19.
This alleged post, and any others that directly show videos of the raids, have since been deleted from Afroman's social media accounts. The music videos are still online, though. Foreman said that he is “planning to counter sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on my clients family, career and property.”