Somerset Cannabis Company Responds to $9 Million Borat Lawsuit
A Somerset cannabis company is taking a hit from actor Sacha Baron Cohen to the tune of a potential $9 million after using his likeness on a New Bedford billboard.
Solar Therapeutics may be getting more attention than it bargained for after a lawsuit was filed yesterday by the actor that portrayed the title role of the Borat movies. Solar Therapeutics "took a gamble," according to Baron Cohen's legal team, when it put up the billboard in New Bedford. They said the cannabis company used his likeness to sell more marijuana in the hopes that no one from the actor's team would notice.
The billboard, as seen in the photo above, featured a photo of Baron Cohen in character as Borat along with the phrase, "It's Nice!", a frequent Borat catchphrase.
According to court documents, Sacha Baron Cohen and his company Please You Can Touch, LLC claim that not only has Solar Therapeutics used his likeness without his permission, the actor would never agree to advertise marijuana even though he's had a number of opportunities to do so. The lawsuit claims, "Mr. Baron Cohen never has used cannabis in his life. He never would participate in an advertising campaign for cannabis, for any amount of money,"
Nicholas J. Hemond, Esq., legal counsel for Solar, issued the following statement to Fun 107:
“I am aware of the allegations made against Solar Therapeutics, Inc. (Solar). Upon receipt of the cease and desist letter from Mr. Cohen’s legal counsel, Solar immediately requested that the sign company remove the billboard in question. As there is an active case before the court, we have no further comment at this time.”
The Borat character did not appear on any product sold at the store.
The lawsuit claims that the actor would normally receive upwards of $26 million a year to have his likeness used to promote a product.