Cardi B did not hold back when she took the witness stand on Wednesday (October 19) in a lawsuit claiming her sexually suggestive album cover left a man “humiliated”, repeatedly arguing with opposing counsel, asking for “receipts” and claiming her accuser is “harassing” her in the hope of getting a settlement.
The rapper’s testimony has arrived an atypical case Dropping by Kevin Brophya California man who claims parts of his back tattoo were unintentionally photoshopped on the cover of Cardi’s 2016 mixtape Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1 to make it look like he was performing oral sex on the now superstar.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Cardi and Brophy’s attorney, A. Barry Cappello, fought several times. At two different points in their fight, the judge dismissed the jurors from the courtroom to calm the bickering. On the second remand, things got so heated that the judge told Cappello he had “totally crossed the line”, and even threatened to declare a mistrial after the jurors left the courtroom.
Earlier today, Brophy’s lawyers said they had sent the star a cease and desist request to have the image removed – prompting Cardi to counter that the matter was really a money, not changes to an album cover.
“It’s not about removing anything. You all stalked me for $5 million,” the star told Cappello. Cardi later noted that the mixtape didn’t even earn that much, and her cut was even less.
The star also took issue with the suggestion that Brophy’s image on the cover had somehow contributed to her runaway success over the past decade – a key part of her legal action against her. She said she ‘worked my ass off [for] two kids” and that it’s “really insulting to me as a woman for a man to claim responsibility”.
Released in 2016, the cover image of gangsta female dog definitely raised eyebrows. In it, the then-rising star is seen taking a big sip of beer, looking directly at the camera with her legs spread and holding a man’s head as he appears to be performing oral sex on her.
The actual man in the image was a model who had consented to the shoot, but a giant tattoo on the man’s back belonged to Brophy. Unbeknownst to Cardi, a freelance graphic designer had typed “back tattoos” into Google Image, found a matching one (Brophy’s), and Photoshopped it onto the model’s body. Apparently, it didn’t occur to him that he would need anyone’s approval to do so.
Brophy sued in 2017 for millions in damages, saying he was “devastated, humiliated and embarrassed” by the coverage. He says Cardi and others violated his so-called right of publicity by using his likeness without his consent, and also violated his right to privacy by casting him in a “false light” that was “highly offensive.” .
Cardi’s legal team has argued that these accusations are “pure fantasy” and “grossly exaggerated” – and that Brophy is merely suing her in an attempt to “cash in the legal equivalent of a lotto ticket”. His legal team says no one would have recognized a relatively unknown man based on his back alone, and there is little evidence anyone did.
The trial began on Tuesday, when Brophy testified that Cardi’s “steamy” image caused significant stress in her life. He called it a “complete slap in the face” which caused him “pain and shame”.
But during Wednesday’s hearing, Cardi pointed out from the witness box that the model in the image was “a fit black man” who has hair. Brophy is white with a shaved head.
“It’s not Mr. Brophy’s back. It doesn’t look like Mr. Brophy at all,” she told Cappello. “There wasn’t a single receipt he provided to the court saying, ‘Hey, that’s you on Cardi’s mixtape. “”
Wednesday’s proceedings also featured testimony from Brophy himself and his wife, as well as Cardi’s former manager. Klenord “Shaft” Raphael. Testimony will continue on Thursday, with a verdict expected on Friday.