Clint Eastwood can win more than awards. The acting legend and Garrapata, the company that manages the rights to his likeness, was awarded $6.1 million after winning a lawsuit against a Lithuanian company accused of using his image to sell CBD products. The company even published a fake interview with the 91-year-old Cry Macho star to make it appear as if he was endorsing the products.
Eastwood filed two lawsuits in Los Angeles federal court against three CBD manufacturers and marketers whose products were listed in an online article claiming Eastwood endorsed the cannabidiol products last year. The original lawsuits also included 10 online retailers that allegedly manipulated search results using meta tags, reports the New York Times. In the first lawsuit, Eastwood's lawyers pointed to a fake interview with an outlet that pretended to be the Today Show, even including a photo from a recent appearance Eastwood made on the NBC show. The article included links to buy CBD items.
U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner submitted a default judgement because the publisher, Mediatonas UAB, never responded to a summons in March. Eastwood and Garrapata were awarded $6 million, $95,000 in attorney's fees, and a permanent injunction that bans the company from using his image. However, Klausner did not grant Eastwood's request for defamation claims, noting that this would require "additional context to understand what CBD products are and why a person like Clint Eastwood would not endorse a marijuana-based product" because the text was "not libelous on its face."
"I am pleased with the court's ruling and believe this judgment sends a powerful message to other online scammers who might try to illegally use someone's name and reputation to sell their products," Eastwood said in a statement to the New York Post. Eastwood's attorney, Jordan Susman, also called the case an example of Eastwood making sure people do not profit off his name without his permission.
"Over a career that has a spanned more than 60 years, Mr. Eastwood has earned a reputation for honesty, hard work, integrity and public service," Susman said. "He is also willing to do what is right and what is fair. 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."
Eastood's career stretches back to the 1950s, and he has directed two Best Picture Oscar winners, Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004). Both films earned him Oscars as producer and director. He is also the recipient of the 1995 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. His most recent film, Cry Macho, is now in theaters.