A federal judge in California has ordered a Lithuanian company to pay $6.1 million to Clint Eastwood for carrying content that used the actor’s name and image in fake endorsements for CBD products.
Judge R. Gary Klausner of U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered a default judgment against Mediatonas UAB, Tauragesrsav, Lithuania, after the company failed to respond to a summons issued last March. The award went to Eastwood and Garrapata, a company that controls use of Eastwood’s name and likeness. The judge also imposed a permanent injunction against Mediatonas banning such usage in the future.
Other companies named
The complaint accused Mediatonas, which owns the websites where the fake endorsements appeared, of unlawfully using Eastwood’s image and likeness. It is one of two federal suits Eastwood and Garrapata filed last year in Los Angeles in which three CBD producers and marketers who engineered the fake endorsements are also named.
Eastwood has no connection of any kind whatsoever to any CBD products, the plaintiffs said in court filings.
Jordan Susman, Eastwood’s lawyer, said in a statement: “In pursuing this case, and obtaining this judgment, Mr. Eastwood has again demonstrated a willingness to confront wrongdoing and hold accountable those who try to illegally profit off his name, likeness, and goodwill.”
Libel charges struck down
The court declined to assess damages for defamation against the three CBD companies — Sera Labs Inc., Greendios and For Our Vets LLC –– noting that language cited by the plaintiffs was not libelous.
Popular celebrities and even former President George W. Bush have been the victims of false product endorsements by CBD and other health supplement companies in recent years. Fake endorsements by actors Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, country singer Blake Shelton, and celebrities Montel Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres have also circulated.