Fast food chain Taco Bell has countersued rapper 50 Cent in response to a $4 million dollar lawsuit the rapper filed against the company in July.
50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson, sued Taco Bell and the companys CEO Greg Creed, accusing the corporation of trademark infringement for using his name and likeness during a promotional campaign to sell tacos.
The rapper claims consumers were duped into thinking that he endorsed the brand last July, when Creed sent out letters to various media outlets addressed to 50.
The open letter suggested that 50 Cent change his name for one day to 79 Cent,” “89 Cent” or “99 Cent, prices that correlated with items for sale on Taco Bells menu.
In return, Taco Bell would donate $10,000 dollars to a charity of 50 Cents choice.
In the latest round of lawsuits, Taco Bell shot down the rappers lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court, claiming they are protected by the First Amendment.
The lawsuit calls the rapper a “self-described former drug dealer and hustler” who is arrogant.
“Jackson has used his colorful past to cultivate a public image of belligerence and arrogance and has a well-publicized track record of making threats, starting feuds and filing lawsuits,” Taco Bell lawyer Robert Lehrburger wrote in the lawsuit. “At the same time, Jackson holds himself out as a giver to charity and one who wants to give back to his community. This lawsuit is another of Jackson’s attempts to burnish his gangsta rapper persona by distorting beyond all recognition a bona fide, good faith offer that Taco Bell made to Jackson.”
50 Cents lawyer shot down the lawsuit in a statement to The New York Daily News.
“It makes me wonder why they would decide to use his name in their ad campaign if they think he’s such a bad character,” Raymond told The Daily News.