Sacha Baron Cohen is suing a Massachusetts cannabis dispensary over their use of his character Borat on a billboard without his permission, the Associated Press reports. The billboard advertising Solar Therapeutics features the Borat character with two thumbs up and the words “It’s nice!”—one of the character’s catchphrases.
The complaint was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Boston. It claims that the billboard falsely conveys that Baron Cohen has endorsed the dispensary’s products and is affiliated with the business.
“To the contrary, Mr. Baron Cohen never has used cannabis in his life,” the lawsuit says. “He never would participate in an advertising campaign for cannabis, for any amount of money.”
The actor and comedian is seeking $9 million in damages. The billboard was removed in April, three days after Baron Cohen’s attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to the dispensary, the report says.
“Mr. Baron Cohen is highly protective of his image and persona, and those of his characters. Mr. Baron Cohen is very careful with the manner in which he uses his persona and his characters to interact with his fans and the general public.”—The complaint, via NBC News
The complaint says that Baron Cohen does not believe cannabis use is a “healthy choice” and that he has never advertised any product in the U.S. over concerns it would “weaken his credibility as an actor and as a serious social activist,” the Irish Examiner reports, noting that the three-time Oscar nominee had once turned down a $4 million offer to appear in a car commercial.
Solar Therapeutics has not commented on the lawsuit.
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