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Baron Cohen Sues for $9M Over Borat Billboard

Actor says he's never used cannabis and would never advertise it
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2021 1:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen says he doesn't want the character to be used to advertise anything—especially not cannabis, which he says he has never used. The British actor is suing a cannabis company for $9 million over an unauthorized billboard on an interstate highway in Massachusetts featuring Borat giving a thumbs-up, with his catchphrase "It's nice," Forbes reports. The lawsuit, which accuses Solar Therapeutics of false advertising and copyright infringement, states that Baron Cohen "never has used cannabis in his life" and "never would participate in an advertising campaign for cannabis, for any amount of money." The lawsuit says the company "took a gamble" by using the character without permission.

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The lawsuit says Baron Cohen believes endorsing any product would "weaken his credibility as an actor and a serious social activist" and has turned down "countless opportunities" in the US and the UK, including an offer of $4 million to appear in a car commercial. It also states that Baron Cohen does not consider cannabis a "healthy choice" and, as an observant Jew, he has religious reasons for avoiding the drug. "He does not wish to be involved in the heated controversy among the Orthodox Jewish community about whether cannabis can be used under Jewish traditions, customs, and rules,” the lawsuit states, per the Hollywood Reporter. (Read more Sacha Baron Cohen stories.)

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