50 Cent asked to explain Instagram photos of cash

PHOTO: 50 CENT/INSTAGRAM

CONNECTICUT/NEW YORK • A judge in Connecticut has asked the rapper 50 Cent, who filed for bankruptcy protection last year, to explain Instagram photos showing him posing next to or near large piles of cash, including one in which the bills spell out the word "Broke" .

The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, filed last July, days after a jury ordered him to pay US$5 million (S$6.9 million) to a woman who accused him of posting a sex tape of her online.

He was later ordered to pay US$2 million more.

In a February hearing in bankruptcy court, the judge said the photos caused her to be "concerned about allegations of nondisclosure and a lack of transparency".

But Jackson claimed in a court filing that the cash in his Instagram pictures was "prop money".

"Just because I am photographed in or next to a certain vehicle, wearing an article of clothing, holding a product, sitting next to what appears to be large sums of money or modelling expensive pieces of jewellery does not mean that I own everything in those photos," he wrote.

The posts were brought to the court's attention by Jackson's creditors, who said in a court document that the pictures were, "at a minimum, openly contemptuous" of the bankruptcy process.

Social media has become a notable tool of hip-hop culture and often functions as an extension of an artist's public image.

Jackson, who enjoyed enormous commercial success with his music when he first emerged on the scene, appeared to strike gold with various product and merchan- dising deals.

But, more recently, failed business ventures and several lawsuits that resulted in penalties of more than US$25 million against him caused him to file for bankruptcy.

On Wednesday, it was disclosed in court that creditors who hold the vast majority of Jackson's debt had come to an agreement with his lawyers, according to The Hartford Courant.

If the hearing left Jackson feeling chastened, he certainly did not show it on social media.

Late in the afternoon, he posted a new picture of himself with stacks of cash in his waistband on Twitter and Instagram.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline '50 Cent asked to explain Instagram photos of cash'. Print Edition | Subscribe