Sacha Baron Cohen sues Massachusetts-based cannabis company over billboard featuring Borat character

Maria Bakalova and Sacha Baron Cohen in the movie "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm." (Amazon Studios/TNS)
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Karu F. Daniels New York Daily News (TNS)

It’s not “very nice” to use intellectual property without permission.

That’s how Sacha Baron Cohen feels about a cannabis company using his likeness to sell their product.

The Academy Award-nominated actor and writer is suing Massachusetts-based Solar Therapeutics for allegedly using his Borat character to promote their business on a billboard.


He is seeking $9 million in damages.

The billboard reportedly was erected in April — promoting the 4/20 weed holiday — and was reportedly located next to an interstate.

A photo of the purported advertisement for medical marijuana shows Cohen, dressed as the iconic fictional Kazakh journalist, flashing his signature double-thumbs up and saying the phrase “It’s nice!”

An image of the billboard — which Solar Therapeutics said had been taken down — was included in the legal documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, filed Monday.

Reps for the London-born comedian stated he has no affiliation with Solar Therapeutics and also revealed he doesn’t smoke marijuana and would never promote the drug for any amount of money.

The legal case also said the actor’s persona is “of very significant commercial value” and revealed Cohen had previously turned down $4 million to appear in a car advertisement.

In addition to suing the cannabis company for $9 million, Cohen is asking the court to ban Solar from using his likeness, name and any imagery associated with him on or for their products.

First appearing in Baron Cohen’s “The Ali G Show,” Borat Sagdiyev went on to star in his own Oscar-nominated movie in 2006.

The comical character returned to the screen last year in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” for which Baron Cohen won a best actor award at the 2021 Golden Globes.


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