Iconic film star and director Clint Eastwood won $6.1 million from a Lithuanian CBD company which used his face and name to advertise its products online. According to his lawyers, this is “sufficient to deter unlawful conduct by defendants in the future.” To Rolling Stone, 91-year-old Eastwood declared himself “pleased with the court’s ruling” because it “sends a powerful message to other online scammers” who might have considered acting similarly.

Clint Eastwood. Photo: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Clint Eastwood. Photo: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

The complaint

Initially, suit was filed against three CBD manufacturers and 10 online retailers. One of the former, Sera Labs, immediately desisted, claiming it was unaware that Eastwood was being utilised and had broken contact with the publisher.

A single CBD company was concentrated upon when it became apparent that it was the owner of many of the offending websites. One featured an interview under the headline Big Pharma In Outrage Over Clint Eastwood’s CBD. In it, Eastwood apparently remarked that “he would be stepping away from the spotlight to put more time into his wellness business”; selling CBD offered him “something bigger than movies” and “This was a really, really difficult decision for me.” It was asserted that Eastwood’s dedication to the CBD company was so great, studios “ended up giving him an ultimatum – acting or his wellness line”, which Eastwood’s representatives called “demonstrably untrue.” A picture of him was used.

False quotes were also attributed to such Hollywood personalities as Michael J Fox. A court document read that Eastwood was unconnected with any CBD company, and no such interview occurred.

The outcome

Justice R. Gary Klausner of the US District Court for the Central District of California made the award to Eastwood and Garrapata LLC, the company that represents him, when the CBD company Mediatonas UAB failed to reply to a court order in March. The award included $95,000 of legal fees. The beak surmised that this was the amount Eastwood would have charged for a 16-month campaign that might “jeopardize his reputation.” After all, CBD remains somewhat dodgy, being a cannabis ingredient, albeit a non-psychoactive one.

Mediatonas UAB declined to comment. In a career spanning more than six decades, Eastwood starred in the legendary films Dirty Harry and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and directed Million Dollar Baby, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2005. He originally asked for $30 million, but this was turned down because there was no defamation since the language used “was not libelous on its face.” Eastwood has only ever allowed his name to be employed once, for a Super Bowl advert. This was because “he felt strongly about its subject matter: job growth and the spirit of America.”

The lawsuit stated that, when it comes to bad guys, “Like many of his most famous characters, Mr. Eastwood is not afraid to confront wrongdoing”. Other slebs to be similarly abused include Sacha Baron Cohen, Sandra Bullock, former-President George W Bush, Ellen de Generes, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey.

Per the Better Business Bureau, over $1.3 bn has been raked in from fake endorsements in the last decade.

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