Hollywood Star Launches Defamation Suit After False CBD Endorsement

Oscar-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood filed suit against Sera Labs, Inc. et al., a CBD retailer for using his name on Wednesday.  Sera Labs allegedly used a “wholly fabricated ‘news article’ about Mr. Eastwood to promote and sell cannabidiol (CBD) products.”

The defendants allegedly posted the article, titled “Big Pharma In Outrage Over Clint Eastwood’s CBD: [Name of CBD Product] – He Fires Back With This!” The article was called a “scam” in the complaint.  The article contains photographs of Eastwood, and “references a fabricated interview with Mr. Eastwood in which he touts his purported line of CBD products.”  The complaint goes on to state “Mr. Eastwood has no connection of any kind whatsoever to any CBD products and never gave such an interview.”

A portion of the complaint was focused on highlighting Eastwood’s successful career and fame on the world stage from being an actor, producer and director. In total the complaint contained seven claims for relief: violation of California law, violation of common law right of publicity, false endorsement, trademark infringement, common law trademark infringement, defamation, and false light invasion of privacy. 

Under the first claim, the plaintiff alleged “[d]efendants’ unauthorized use of Mr. Eastwood’s name, image, likeness, and persona constitute a commercial misappropriation in violation of Section 3344 of the California Civil Code.”  The second and third claims follow similar logic.

The fourth and fifth claims of trademark infringement asserted that Eastwood’s co-plaintiff, Garrapata LLC, owns a federally registered trademark: “U.S. Registration No. 3265483 in Mr. Eastwood’s name for ‘Entertainment services, namely, personal appearances and live performance and live recorded performances by a movie star and actor.”  Furthermore, the plaintiffs argued the defendants unauthorized use of Garrapata’s registered and common law trademarks “are likely to confuse and deceive consumers as to the origin, sponsorship, and/or endorsement of Defendants’ CBD brands and products;” specifically, that Eastwood could mistakenly be perceived to be associated with or endorsing defendants products.

As for the defamation argument, the plaintiffs argued the false statements from the fake interview falsely reference several aspects of Eastwood’s life.  For example, there are references to his health, career, business relationships and professional relationships, such as Eastwood “delivering his purported CBD products to people including other celebrities.”   The false light invasion of privacy follows the same argument.

Eastwood and Garrapata are seeking an award of actual, punitive and compensatory damages for the various claims.  Additionally, plaintiffs seek a preliminary and permeant injunction restraining and enjoining the defendants from using the false statements in the article.

The case was filed in Central District of California, and is currently before Judge R. Gary Klausner.  Clint Eastwood and Garrapata LLC are being represented by Nolan Heimann.