The Robinhood stock trading app failed to heed Ice Cube’s well-known warning “You better check yo self before you wreck yo self.”
The company has had its fair share of controversies, and now it’s being sued by the rapper for using his likeness and misquoting his lyrics in an ad. The complaint, which was filed Wednesday in California federal court, references hundreds of lawsuits (one of them is from Ice Cube’s business partner Jeff Kwantinetz) and multiple government investigations — including an inquiry into the suicide death of a 20-year-old Robinhood user.
“Human lives are simply collateral damage as Robinhood single-mindedly rushes toward an initial public offering, so its feckless and apathetic Millennial founders can jump ship and live out their days in luxury and hedonism,” states the complaint filed by Michael Taitelman and Sean Hardy of Freedman + Taitelman. “Robinhood flagrantly displays its belief that it is exempt from the rules and laws that govern everyone else in the United States.”
One of those laws is the Lanham Act, which Ice Cube says the company is violating along with California statutes that prohibit the misappropriation of one’s likeness and unfair competition.
“In a cynical effort to appeal to a young demographic, Robinhood has engaged celebrity endorsers such as Jay-Z, Nas, and Jared Leto to endorse its products and services,” states the complaint. “However, in an act of unmitigated gall and transparent retribution, Robinhood and its subsidiary have now used the image and likeness of Ice Cube – without his permission – to promote Robinhood’s terrible products and services. Robinhood has picked on the wrong man this time.”
Ice Cube says it’s damaging his reputation and the company has ignored his demands to stop using his image and likeness. So he’s suing to set the record straight: “Robinhood is a scam that Ice Cube wants nothing to do with.”
Read the court filing right here.