Sacha Baron Cohen is suing a Massachusetts cannabis dispensary for using his character Borat on a billboard for the company, according to documents filed Monday in US District Court in Boston.
The actor, best known for his titular role in the “Borat” films and his characters Brüno and Ali G, said Somerset dispensary Solar Therapeutics Inc. was not given permission to use his likeness or character in the ad, which has been on display on a Massachusetts highway for several weeks, according to court documents.
The billboard shows Baron Cohen posing as Borat beside the words “It’s nice!”, a reference to one of the character’s popular catchphrases, and “Happy 4/20!”
Baron Cohen, along with his company Please You Can Touch LLC, is suing the dispensary and its president Edward Dow III for at least $9 million in damages, according to the suit.
“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 lawsuit 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.”
According to the lawsuit, the actor has mocked “stoner culture” throughout his career and does not believe cannabis is “a healthy choice.”
The actor also said in the suit that as a member of the Jewish faith, he does not want to be a part of a debate among the Orthodox community over whether the substance can be used under Jewish customs.
“Cannabis remains a controversial product that Mr. Baron Cohen has no interest in endorsing, promoting, or advertising,” the lawsuit said. “He would be appalled if his young children were to discover, mistakenly or otherwise, that he was associated with the promotion of cannabis.”