“Looks like I’m giving someone who isn’t my wife, someone who isn’t my partner, and an image I never, ever approved of.”
After five years of lawsuits, Mike Brophy, Costa Mesa surfer, tattoo model and RVCA team manager, has lost his $5 million lawsuit against Afro-Latinx rapper Cardi B. despite his background being used on the cover of his 2016 album Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1.
The album cover shows a tattooed man eating the hell out of Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar aka “wet ass pussy”, as she examines the photographer with a questioning eye, apparently capable of having orgasms indefinitely until physical exhaustion sets in.
Brophy’s lawyer told the court that his client’s life had been “disrupted” and that the album cover had turned his “Michelangelo piece” into something “raunchy and disgusting”.
“It looks like I’m giving oral sex to someone who’s not my wife, someone who’s not my partner, and an image that I never approved of,” Brophy told the court . “Being a father of two and a devoted husband and a man of faith as well goes against everything I stand for, and I would never sign anything like that.
“For me, it was something I took a lot of pride in…Now that image seems devalued. I feel robbed. I feel completely ignored. There are a lot of things I would like to spend time on. But the only way to have it removed was to come here to this courtroom.
Yeah, well, on Friday, a Santa Ana jury ruled that the cover didn’t “misrepresent Brophy or misrepresent his likeness.”
Cardi B said album cover artist Tim Gooden only used “a small portion” of Brophy’s tattoos and that the cover’s use was “a transformative fair use of Brophy’s likeness”.
Leaving court, Brophy reportedly told his nemesis, “At the end of the day, I respect you as an artist.”