Cardi B is set to appear in court on August 3 for the $5 million lawsuit that claims she unfairly used a California man’s tattooed likeness and portrayed him in an overtly “sexual” way on the cover of her 2016 mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1.
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A federal judge in Santa Ana, California set the ground rules for the trial during a hearing on Monday (July 18), including confirming Cardi is expected to testify in person, according to Rolling Stone. The judge also hammered out a statement of the case that he will read to prospective jurors.
“It’s showtime,” U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said after it became clear that a settlement wouldn’t be reached in private. “I don’t think this case is a complex case, but I think it’s a very interesting case, and it’s one I think the jurors would enjoy.”
Plaintiff Kevin Michael Brophy Jr. filed the suit in 2017, claiming he suffered “distress and humiliation” as a result of the cover art—which sees his distinctive back tattoo on a man with his head between Cardi’s legs as she drinks a beer. See the cover art below.
In the suit, Brophy describes himself as a “family man with minor children” who works “for a surfing and lifestyle company” near the Los Angeles area. He then goes on to claim that after the “egregious” misappropriation of his likeness, he was faced with “uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule from community members and family.”
Cardi’s argument is that Brophy’s tattoo was superimposed without her knowledge on the back of a male model. She contends that Brophy, who is caucasian, is not the same person as the Black model in the photo with a “demonstrably different” tattoo.
“The neck tattoo is removed; the arm is repositioned; the lighting and shadowing is manipulated to fit the interior of the limousine; the image is tilted to match the forward-leaning posture of the model’s body; the image is tinted, shaded, and re-colored to fit the overall scheme of the underlying photo used in the (cover image); and the periphery fades to black,” her filings in the case state.
Cardi recently testified in a defamation trial against vlogger Latasha Kebe in a federal court in Georgia. which resulted in a victory for the rapper. The judge estimates the August 3 trial will last four days.
(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)