Sacha Baron Cohen is suing American cannabis dispensary, Solar Therapeutics, over their use of his Borat character that has appeared without his authorisation on a billboard in Massachusetts.
The billboard features the fictional character with both thumbs up, with the character’s catchphrase, “it’s nice!” featured.
Court documents obtained by the Hollywood Reporter show that Baron Cohen is seeking damages of at least $9M USD for alleged copyright infringement and false advertising.
“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,” Baron Cohen’s lawyer wrote in the official complaint.
Solar Therapeutics insist that the billboard was taken down after they received a cease-and-desist from Baron Cohen’s lawyers. The brand has chosen to decline to compensate him.
His representatives said that he has never advertised any product in either the US or the UK over fears that it may “weaken his credibility as an actor and as a serious social activist”. They even noted that he had previously said no to $4M USD to appear in a car ad as Borat.