Justin Timberlake is being sued as part of a class action lawsuit against Bai claiming the beverage company deceived consumers by saying their drinks are all-natural when they actually are not. A California-based man named Kevin Branca filed suit last month against Bai Brands, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Dr. Pepper president Larry Young and Bai founder Ben Weiss. The original lawsuit did not name Timberlake as a defendant, but an amended complaint filed earlier this week added him.
According to the lawsuit, Bai’s labeling is false and misleading, saying they contain only natural ingredients and are flavored only with natural ingredients when they actually contain undisclosed artificial flavors in violation of state and federal law.
The suit says all the products contain a synthetic chemical flavoring compound identified as “malic acid,” which is an inexpensive synthetic chemical used in processed food products to make the taste like tangy fresh fruit.
Timberlake came on board as an investor in 2016, according to Fortune. He has the title of Chief Flavor Officer of Bai Brands and said at the time, “This partnership was created from a shared desire to help people put better ingredients in their bodies without sacrificing taste.”
According to the lawsuit, Justin Timberlake’s “monetary assistance, creative inputs and marketing of Bai helped elevate the better-for-you and name-recognition of the brand.”
The lawsuit claims Timberlake was a knowing participant in the alleged fraud, saying, “Defendant Bai and Defendant Timberlake knowingly entered into a single agreement and/or multiple agreements to commit fraud and other unlawful acts by agreeing to promote artificially flavored beverage products as if they were solely naturally flavored without synthetic chemical ingredients.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit claims “Timberlake aided this scheme by agreeing to promote the Products and their ingredients on a nationally aired commercial advertisement during the 2017 Super Bowl, which reached millions of consumers, which was an essential tool to carry out the fraudulent sales and marketing of the Bai Products.”
The suit is seeking an order requiring Bai Brands and Timberlake to disgorge any money received from the result of the improper and misleading labeling, advertising and marketing along with punitive damages.
We reached out to a rep for Timberlake for comment — so far, no word back.