A federal judge has postponed this week’s planned trial in a lawsuit that accuses Cardi B of “humiliating” a California man by photoshopping an image of his back tattoo onto the sexually provocative cover of her 2016 debut mixtape.
In an order on Friday, Judge Cormac J. Carney said the looming jury trial – set to kick off this Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court – would be punted to October because Cardi’s lawyer was unavailable to appear due to a “serious illness.”
The case against Cardi was filed in 2017 by Kevin Brophy, who claims the superstar misappropriated his likeness and invaded his privacy by featuring an image of his enormous tattoo on the album cover for “Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1.”
The cover features Cardi with her legs spread, holding the head of a man who appears to be performing oral sex. The man is a model who consented to the image, but the tattoo is Brophy’s – photoshopped by an unwitting graphic designer who pulled the image from Google and superimposed it onto the model.
Seeking millions in potential damages, Brophy says the superstar exploited his identity in a “humiliating and provocatively sexual way to launch her career.”
“He has had to face uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule, from community members and family,” Brophy’s lawyers wrote at the time. “His family dynamic has been adversely affected, and his work and professional life have been unalterably damaged by his having to explain this unconsented-to, offensive, and malicious use of his image.”
Cardi’s lawyers have argued back that the image — which doesn’t feature Brophy’s face — wouldn’t be recognizable as him to almost anyone. They also claim the cover transformed the original image and is protected by the First Amendment. And they’ve accused him of simply suing a celebrity to make money – of “trying to cash in the legal equivalent of a lotto ticket.”
After long delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a trial had finally been set to start on August 3, with the star herself prepared to testify. Now, she’ll need to seek a new attorney by next week.