50 Cent is suing the owner of Florida medical spa over allegations that she used an innocent photo with the rapper to falsely suggest that he’d had penile enhancement surgery.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court, attorneys for the rapper (real name Curtis Jackson) claimed he’d “graciously agreed” to take the pic with Angela Kogan, only to later discover that the “unscrupulous business owner” had repeatedly used it to promote her Miami plastic surgery practice.
Kogan’s use of the image took a “disturbing turn” last month, Jackson claims, when she allegedly engineered an article on the website The Shade Room that “shockingly” made the “false insinuation” that Jackson had received penile enhancement himself.
“Jackson never had such a sexual enhancement procedure, he has never received plastic surgery from defendants, and he never consented to the commercialization and publication of the Photo,” his lawyers wrote. “Defendants’ actions have exposed Jackson to ridicule, caused substantial damage to his professional and personal reputation, and violated his right to control his name and image.”
Jackson is seeking an order banning Kogan from continuing to use the image, as well as “millions of dollars” in potential damages for her “malicious” conduct.
Kogan and her Perfection Plastic Surgery & MedSpa did not immediately respond to request for comment. The Shade Room itself is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The article in question (“Penis Enhancements Are More Popular Than Ever & BBLs Are Dying Out: Cosmetic Surgery CEO Angela Kogan Speaks On It”) did not directly claim that Jackson had the surgery. But it allegedly said he was a “client” while repeatedly using the image with Kogan – and Jackson’s lawyers say the “implication was clear.”
“The photo is juxtaposed with an image of a faceless male obtaining a penile enhancement procedure, with a euphemistic eggplant emoji covering his exposed groin area,” Jackson’s attorneys wrote. They stressed that it had been used as the “thumbnail” image when the article was shared on social media, widening the scope of the alleged misrepresentation.
Kogan and her business then shared the article to their “half a million followers” on social media, subjecting him to “lewd, lascivious, and sexually objectifying comments from members of the public.” His lawyers included a number of such comments in the complaint, including one that “crudely” said the rapper should be called “50 inch.”
“Kogan … should have known that this could lead to vulgar and sexually charged comments about Jackson and his body, particularly in light of the ways that Black men in U.S. history have been, and continue to be, sexualized and fetishized,” the star’s lawyers wrote.
In technical terms, the lawsuit claims that Kogan and her business violated his so-called right of publicity – the right to control the commercial use of your name and likeness. He also says it amounted to an invasion of privacy, and violated federal law barring false endorsement and false advertising.