Clint Eastwood arrives at the 2020 AFI Awards in Los Angeles. Photo by Jordan Strauss | Invision | AP
Actor, director, producer and composer Clint Eastwood has won a lawsuit against a CBD Company. Mediatonas UAB, a Lithuanian web development firm has used the actor’s name illegally to promote CBD products.
Last year, Eastwood accused the company of using his name and likeness without permission. Consequently, he filed a lawsuit against them. On Friday, October 1st, after the Mediatonas UAB failed to answer the summons in March, California Judge R. Gary Klausner filed a default judgment against the Lithuanian CBD company, The New York Times reports.
As a result, Eastwood and Garrapata, the corporation that holds the rights to the actor’s likeness, were given $6 million in damages $95,000 in legal expenses, and a permanent injunction prohibiting the use of the actor’s name or images in the future.
In an article on their website, Mediatonas UAB featured the legendary actor in a fake interview endorsing their CBD products.
In it, Eastwood talked about his decision to leave Hollywood to be a CBD seller. “This was a really, really difficult decision for me,” the fake article states.
The story was also accompanied by a photo of the director during a visit to NBC’s Today program and other positive comments about the effectiveness of his nonexistent CBD line from his celebrity pals Sam Elliott, Michael J. Fox, and Terry Bradshaw.
In the lawsuit, the 91-year-old Dirty Harry star claimed that the CBD company illegally utilized photographs of him, and statements ascribed to him advertising CBD products.
“In truth, Mr. Eastwood has no connection of any kind whatsoever to any CBD products and never gave such an interview,” states the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court in July 2020.
“Mr. Eastwood seeks to hold accountable the persons and entities that wrongfully crafted this scheme, spread false and malicious statements of facts about him, and illegally profited off of his name and likeness,” the lawsuit also said.
Yet, despite the big retribution, Judge Klausner did not award the lawsuit’s full request for defamation, since it did not look “libelous on its face,” his honor wrote in his decision. “It requires additional context to understand what CBD products are and why a person like Clint Eastwood would not endorse a marijuana-based product.”
“I am pleased with the court’s ruling,” Eastwood, told The New York Post on Monday, October 4th. “ [I] believe this judgment sends a powerful message to other online scammers who might try to illegally use someone’s name and reputation to sell their products,” he continued.
The company that lost is registered in a small village in western Lithuania. It made about 600,000 euros in profit in 2020 and now they are undergoing liquidation.
The movie legend’s legal representatives warned others to be “cautious” about celebrity endorsement.
“My client is not one to sit idly by as the defendants use his good name to dupe customers into purchasing products with which he has no affiliation,” Clint’s attorney, Nolan Heimann said to The New York Post.
“While the purpose of these lawsuits is to halt and remedy ongoing defamation and misappropriation violations, they should also serve as a reminder to customers to be cautious when they see a too-good-to-be-true celebrity endorsement,” Heimann added.
Actor Sacha Baron Cohen also has sued a Massachusetts cannabis dispensary this summer, reports USA Today. The dispensary allegedly used an image of Baron Cohen’s movie character, Borat, on their billboard without his consent.
“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 complaint read. “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.”
In spring, a producer of Skittles, Mars Wrigley also filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago against a cannabis company, reports Chicago Sun-Times. Allegedly, the company used a similar package design and the exact same name as Skittles has.
The company said the lawsuit should send “a strong signal to stop illegally using the company’s brands and products.”
All in all, big names are seemingly cracking down on cannabis businesses, and it’s not so surprising actually. Hollywood figures sue each other all the time, guarding their likeness and the money that they are earning with it. Cannabis companies should be watchful about their advertisements and billboards designs, surely no one wants to end up paying millions of dollars in damages.