Ice Cube is fired up once again and this time he’s aimed his beam at stock trading platform Robinhood. The rapper turned Hollywood movie star and Black political advocate, filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, March 31, accusing Robinhood of damaging his reputation by using his image to promote its products without his consent.
The lawsuit claims that on March 8, Robinhood ran an advertisement on its Robinhood Snacks website and app using the Boyz N The Hood star’s image and likeness. The ad also flipped his 1992 hit single “Check Yo Self” with the caption, “Correct yourself, before you wreck yourself.” Cube claims that the use of his picture and his slogan created a false impression that he endorsed Robinhood.
“In a cynical effort to appeal to a young demographic, Robinhood has engaged celebrity endorsers such as Jay-Z, Nas, and Jared Leto to endorse its products and services,” rea the complaint filed in federal court in California. “However, in an act of unmitigated gall and transparent retribution, Robinhood and its subsidiary have now used the image and likeness of Ice Cube – without his permission…”
Robinhood fired back. “No, we didn’t use his image without permission. The image was licensed and used for non-commercial, editorial purposes in connection with a blog article,” explained Robinhood’s product communications lead Lavinia Chirico to TMZ.
The Friday actor also claimed that Robinhood ignored his request to cease using his catchphrase and that his demands were ignored because of his relationship with civil rights attorney Jeff Kwatinetz. Ice Cube and Kwatinetz are business partners and the lawyer is involved in a separate lawsuit against the trading platform over its controversial decision to limit trading of GameStop (GME) and other heavily shorted stocks.
According to the lawsuit, the trading platform “specifically sought to punish and make an example out of Ice Cube.” It also alleges violations of federal trademark law as well as California codes and common law governing rights of publicity. The lawsuit further states that Robinhood’s actions were wrongfully intended to generate revenue by promoting and attracting customers to its website, products, and services.
The Barbershop creator is asking the court to halt Robinhood from using his image or likeness and is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages as well. He is also seeking punitive damages to punish the company’s executives for allegedly authorizing the ad campaign.