On Wednesday, world-renowned musical artist Ice Cube sued Robinhood Markets Inc. and Robinhood Financial LLC (together, Robinhood) for using his image and likeness without his permission allegedly to promote Robinhood’s products and services. The complaint criticizes Robinhood as “selling a garbage trading platform to the American public and laughing all the way to the bank,” and contends that it “has picked on the wrong man this time.”
The Northern District of California filing explains that Robinhood featured an image of Ice Cube (pictured below) on Mar. 8 on its “Robinhood Snacks” website and app, a digest of news and editorials put out by the trading platform. The complainant reportedly wrote to the defendants asking them to stop using his image and likeness, but they failed to comply.
Ice Cube argues that the advertisement uses his image, likeness, and signature catchphrase to give the impression that he endorses Robinhood’s “terrible products and services.” Ice Cube further contends that the association degrades his well-established brand.
In its criticism of Robinhood, the complaint calls the financial platform “another get-rich-quick scheme for the most privileged people in America.” Further, it cites legal issues the company has run into “[o]ver the course of its brief existence,” including numerous governmental investigations, multi-million dollar fines, and more than 50 class action lawsuits.
The recording artist seeks injunctive relief and damages under the Lanham Act, California’s analogue statute and common law, and the state’s unfair competition law. Ice Cube is represented by Freedman & Taitelman LLP.