Eastwood wins $8.3 million lawsuit against makers of cannabis-based products

Actor Clint Eastwood filed two lawsuits in federal court in Los Angeles against three cannabidiol manufacturers and marketers in 2020. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NY TIMES) - Actor Clint Eastwood and Garrapata, the company that owns the rights to his likeness, were awarded US$6.1 million (S$8.3 million) on Friday (Oct 1) in a lawsuit they had filed against a Lithuanian company that was accused of using Eastwood's image and likeness to make it appear as if he was endorsing their products.

Last year, Eastwood, 91, filed two lawsuits in federal court in Los Angeles against three CBD manufacturers and marketers whose products were featured in an online article falsely claiming that he endorsed CBD products, as well as 10 online retailers who he accused of manipulating search results through meta tags. (CBD is cannabidiol, a nonintoxicating compound in the cannabis sativa plant.)

According to the first lawsuit, the online article contained a fake interview with an outlet meant to resemble the Today show. It included a photo of Eastwood from an actual appearance on Today, as well as links to buy the items.

"Mr Eastwood has no connection of any kind whatsoever to any CBD products and never gave such an interview," the court documents said.

The judge, R. Gary Klausner of United States District Court for the Central District of California, entered a default judgment after Mediatonas UAB, the company that published a fabricated interview with Eastwood, failed to respond to a summons in March. Eastwood and Garrapata were then awarded US$6 million based on the company's unauthorised use of his name and likeness, along with about US$95,000 in attorneys' fees and a permanent injunction that blocks future use of his name and likeness.

"In pursuing this case, and obtaining this judgment, Mr Eastwood has again demonstrated a willingness to confront wrongdoing and hold accountable those who try to illegally profit off his name, likeness and goodwill," Mr Jordan Susman, a lawyer for Eastwood, said in a statement.

Mediatonas UAB could not be reached for comment.

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