SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — Actor Sacha Baron Cohen is suing a cannabis dispensary in Somerset for using his character Borat on a billboard without his permission, according to documents filed Monday in US District Court in Boston.
The billboard in question from Solar Therapeutics Inc. used to greet drivers along I-195 in Massachusetts, and while it’s no longer there, it’s still in the spotlight.
The billboard shows Baron Cohen posing as Borat to promote the company with the phrase, “It’s nice!” a reference to one of his character’s popular catchphrases, as well as, “Happy 4/20!”
According to court documents, the dispensary never got permission from Baron Cohen to use his image and likeness in the advertisement. The lawsuit also says the actor has never used cannabis in his life, because “he does not believe it is a healthy choice,” and would never help advertise the product for any amount of money.
The lawsuit goes on to read, “Cannabis remains a controversial product that Mr. Baron Cohen has no interest in endorsing, promoting, or advertising. He would be appalled if his young children were to discover, mistakenly or otherwise, that he was associated with the promotion of cannabis.”
According to the lawsuit, Baron Cohen and his company, Please You Can Touch, LLC, are suing Solar Therapeutics and its president for at least $9 million in damages.
The billboard was taken down in April, three days after Baron Cohen’s attorney sent the dispensary a cease and desist letter, according to the lawsuit.
A spokesperson for Solar Therapeutics tells 12 News that, after the company received a cease and desist letter from Cohen’s legal counsel, they immediately requested the sign company remove the billboard.