Cardi B was deposed on Wednesday, and things got tense on the stand as her lawyer sparred with the plaintiff’s attorney. Cardi chimed in, stating that she was being harassed by the plaintiff for settlement money.
The Bronx rapper is being sued by Kevin Brophy, who claims that a photo of his distinctive back tattoo was superimposed onto the cover of Cardi’s 2016 mixtape Gangsta B-tch Music Vol. 1.
Brophy claims that Cardi’s use of his tattoo, which distinctively identifies him, is a violation of his rights to publicity and privacy as it “explicitly misrepresents [him] having sex with Cardi B” and has caused him shame and embarrassment.
According to Brophy, the cover made him feel “ridiculed, disgusted and humiliated” in front of his wife, children, and surfing community, who have identified the cover as his tattooed back.
On Wednesday, the lawsuit, which was filed in 2017, finally got underway as Cardi took the stand to give testimony and even asked the plaintiff’s lawyer to provide receipts for his claim that people have identified him as the person on her album cover.
According to Billboard, Cardi B and Brophy’s attorney, A. Barry Cappello had several testy exchanges in court, even leading to the judge having to dismiss the jurors momentarily so the attorneys could settle down.
The judge also expressed frustration at Brophy’s lawyer, even once chiding him that he “totally crossed the line,” and warned that a mistrial would take place if the lawyer continued.
Cardi B, who is represented by attorneys Lisa Moore and Peter Anderson, is contending that a graphic designer, without her knowledge or approval, used a “small portion” of the tattoo but that she hasn’t violated Brophy’s rights as it is regarded as “transformative work” and protected by the 1st Amendment.
In opening arguments on Tuesday, attorney Anderson said that Brophy and his wife are the only ones who claim that the tattoos are similar. Of interest is that Brophy claims that he was allegedly made aware of his back being used on the cover by his tattoo artist. Card’s lawyer also pointed out that the tattoo artist owns the copyright to the tattoo, but he is not pursuing a claim against Cardi.
Meanwhile, on the stand on Wednesday, Cardi was a tough witness as she also accused the plaintiff of wanting money after Cappello said that a cease-and-desist letter was sent to her to remove the image, and when they got no reply, it was like “a slap in the face.”
“This is not about taking anything down. Y’all have been harassing me for $5 million,” Cardi fired back at the lawyer in court in front of the jury.
The rapper also pushed back at the plaintiff’s argument that the project had something to do with her career blowing up, adding, “[I’ve been] working my a-s off [for my] two kids and that it’s really insulting to me as a woman that a man is claiming responsibility,” the rapper said.
Just a day before Cardi’s deposition, Brophy had taken the stand where he maintained that the “raunchy” image had wreaked havoc on his life and caused him to feel “hurt and shame.”
Cardi on Wednesday addressed his claims asking for “receipts,” and she even went further to dispute his claim noting that the model that was hired for the shoot was black. Even though the tattoo was lifted from Google images, it bore no resemblance to Brophy, as the man on her album cover is “a Black man that’s fit.”
“It’s not Mr. Brophy’s back. It doesn’t look like Mr. Brophy at all,” she said of Brophy, who is a white baldheaded man. “There has been not one receipt he has provided in the court claiming, ‘Hey, that’s you on Cardi’s mixtape.’”
On Wednesday, Brophy and his wife testified, and Cardi’s former manager Klenord “Shaft” Raphael, also took the stand.
A few more witnesses are set to be called on Thursday, with the case expected to come to an end on Friday with a verdict given.