Actor Sacha Baron Cohen has sued a Massachusetts Cannabis dispensary he says used an image of his character Borat on a billboard without his permission, reports Al Jazeera. Baron Cohen filed the suit this week, according to documents filed in United States District Court in Boston.
The billboard for Somerset-based Solar Therapeutics showed Baron Cohen posing as Borat with two thumbs up and the words “It’s nice!” That phrase is one of Borat’s signatures.
Baron Cohen, along with his California-based company Please You Can Touch LLC, is now suing the dispensary and its owner, Edward Dow III, for at least $9 million, reports NBC 10 Boston.
The actor was apparently not content to simply sue the dispensary in question. Baron Cohen also took pains to express distaste for the entire industry, and to deny ever using marijuana.
“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,” the document states. “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.”
The lawsuit states Baron Cohen does not use marijuana because “he does not believe it is a healthy choice,” reports The Wrap.
Baron Cohen: ‘No Interest In Endorsing’
“Moreover, the sale and distribution of cannabis remains a federal crime everywhere in the United States, including Massachusetts,” the suit states.
“For all of the above reasons, cannabis remains a controversial product that Mr. Baron Cohen has no interest in endorsing, promoting, or advertising,” the lawsuit states.
The defendant, Solar Therapeutics Inc., said it was aware of the allegations and had the sign taken down.
“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,” the statement said. “As there is an active case before the court, we have no further comment at this time.”
Solar removed the billboard in April. That took place just three days after Baron Cohen’s attorneys sent a cease-and-desist order to the dispensary.