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Cardi B Calls $5 Million Lawsuit Over Mixtape a ‘Celebrity Shakedown’

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By Ryan Naumann

Cardi B is asking a judge to throw out the lawsuit accusing the singer of ripping off art for her mixtape cover, accusing the man suing her of only trying to shake her down.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Cardi B is once again asking a judge to throw out the $5 million-dollar lawsuit filed by a man named Kevin Michael Brophy, Jr.

Brophy accuses Cardi of using a photo of his distinct back tattoo and using it for her mixtape album cover, without paying him or getting permission.

In newly filed court docs, Cardi calls the lawsuits “nothing but a transparent attempt at a celebrity shakedown.”

Her response states, “The allegations of the Complaint are so far-fetched and lacking in substance, on their face, that they defy credulity. After having more than a year to conduct jurisdictional discovery, Plaintiff has come up with nothing of substance to put meat on the bare, brittle bones of his vague, conclusory allegations. His claims, couched in sensationalistic language, are inherently, and obviously, implausible.”

The Blast

Cardi adds, “The mixtape photo was never sold separately, never used in merchandise, and the mixtape was being released free of charge for much of its “life.””

The singer says Brophy’s claim that her using the photo of him played some role in her success is absurd. She points out her, “career’s rapid rise was in fact a direct result of the release, massive promotion and huge success of the single “Bodak Yellow” by Atlantic Records in mid 2017.”

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Cardi is asking the judge to dismiss the entire case before it heads to trial.

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Gettyimages | Leon Bennett

Back in 2017, Kevin Michael Brophy, Jr. sued Cardi B accusing her of lifting his image and plastering it on her artwork for her “Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1.”

He claimed to identify himself by the distinct tattoo of a tiger fighting a snake on his back, and said he never met Cardi or posed for a photo and wanted at least $5 million in damages.

Brophy says he was "shocked, outraged, humiliated, and appalled" when he first saw the photo. He claims Cardi used the pic "in a misleading, offensive, humiliating and provocatively sexual way to launch her career in music and entertainment."

In his suit, Brophy says he "has been devastated as a result" of the mixtape cover and he was worried that "his wife believed he had betrayed her." He even said his young son, who was enrolled in a Christian pre-kindergarten school, saw the photo while he and his wife were reviewing it and he had to explain how it wasn't him in the photo.

He claims the tattoo visible in the photo is "one of a kind" and was done over 10 years ago.

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Gettyimages | Ethan Miller

Cardi demanded the case be dismissed and argued the man was trying to profit off her success by going after her through “extortionate means,” and called the use of the image a “classic example of transformative work created in the exercise of the First Amendment rights of the photographer.”

The case has dragged on for over a year, with it being put on pause for a minute while Cardi dealt with being pregnant with Kulture. The singer’s deposition even had to be postponed with her lawyer at the time writing that Cardi had, “suffered unanticipated post-partum complications sufficiently serious enough to cause her, among other things, to have to cancel an upcoming and much-publicized tour, performing with Bruno Mars.

The judge has yet to rule on Cardi’s motion to dismiss.

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