“Borat” was one of the most quotable movies for a time. It’s a film almost everyone who’s seen it remembers the quotes “It’s Nice” or “My Wife” from. I don’t know a stoner who didn’t quote that movie on the daily. It appears company Solar Sustainable Cannabis thought the same of the film, because their marketing campaign features Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Borat.
On the Minneapolis billboard, you can see Borat with a thumbs up saying “It’s Nice.” Cohen, however, does not think it’s funny to use his likeness and intellectual property without permission.
While it doesn’t appear on their website that Cohen is anywhere whoever approved that billboard is in big trouble. Cohen has created a lawsuit against Solar Therapeutics for $9 Million dollars. He’s suing for willful copyright infringement, false advertising and misappropriation of rights of publicity.
The ad could be seen over a Massachusetts interstate billboard with an image of Borat giving a thumbs up and saying “It’s Nice!” Cohen thinks this is doubly offensive because he’s never smoked pot in his life. He’d also never approve his image on any kind of marketing like this.
“By use of the Billboard, the Defendants falsely have conveyed to the public that Mr. Baron Cohen has endorsed their products and is affiliated with their business,” attorney David Condon said. “To the contrary, 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.”
They are stating that the company makes about $26 million a year and decided to take a gamble and use his image. They didn’t think that he would ever find out about it. Cohen did and now wants them to pay what it would have cost them to use his image in the first place. Reasons stated for not wanting to promote the use of marijuana are personal and religious. Cohen does not want to promote something that he does not personally believe in and this is not ok.
You can read the full legal document below.