Sacha Baron Cohen is suing a cannabis company for allegedly using one of his most popular film characters to advertise its wares.
The actor and comedian is suing Massachusetts-licensed medical marijuana company Solar Therapeutics for allegedly running a billboard ad featuring a picture of Baron Cohen in his role as Borat. The court documents allege that the company “deliberately featured the portrait, picture, image, likeness, and persona of Mr. Baron Cohen and his 'Borat' movie character in a commercial billboard... on a busy interstate highway in Massachusetts... without permission of any kind.”
“Defendants have used distinctive attributes of Mr. Baron Cohen’s portrait, image, identity and likeness without permission by displaying the Billboard with an image of Borat holding up two thumbs in the exact and distinct poses made by Borat in the Borat Films, along with the phrase, ‘It’s Nice!,’ referring to the Borat catchword, ‘Nice,’ often used by Borat,” the lawsuit alleges.
The decision to use Borat in an advertisement for cannabis is an especially bad move, given the fact that Baron Cohen totally hates weed. The court documents note that the actor has never “used cannabis in his life” because “he does not believe it is a healthy choice.” The lawsuit goes on to explain that Baron Cohen “has spent much of his career making a mockery of 'stoner' culture” in his lead role in Da Ali G Show on HBO.
And not only does Baron Cohen hate weed, he hates advertising in general. The actor has turned down countless opportunities to license his name or characters to advertise commercial products, even turning down a $4 million offer to appear in a car commercial. The court documents state that he would never “participate in an advertising campaign for cannabis, for any amount of money” and “would be appalled if his young children were to discover, mistakenly or otherwise, that he was associated with the promotion of cannabis.”
The lawsuit demands that the court grant an injunction blocking Solar Therapeutics from using Baron Cohen's likeness in any current or future advertisements. The suit also seeks a financial award of “at least $9 million” to reimburse him for damages caused by the false endorsement.
This is definitely not the first time that a celebrity has sued a cannabis company for illegally using their likeness in ads. Last year, Clint Eastwood sued nearly two dozen companies for using his name to advertise their products and distributing fake news stories claiming he was quitting the film business to focus on CBD.
Shady CBD companies have also been caught out using fake endorsements from Tom Hanks, Dr. Oz, David Attenborough, and even popular ministers like Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen to advertise their products.