Anyone who recently purchased a CBD product because they thought it was the preferred drug of “Cry Macho” star Clint Eastwood is in for some bad news.
In 2020, Eastwood filed two lawsuits accusing companies involved in the cannabis industry of stealing his likeness as part of a scam to drive traffic to CBD retailers. He claims that the marketing campaigns, which included fake news articles using his name and image, implied he was endorsing the cannabis products. Eastwood has no formal involvement in the cannabis industry and maintains that he would have been uninterested in endorsing any CBD products.
Now, the actor can claim victory in one of those suits against Norok Innovations, a California-based Internet marketing company. The ruling (via The Hollywood Reporter) found that Eastwood is entitled to $2 million in compensation, which would have been his market value if the company had hired him as a spokesman.
“Without Mr. Eastwood’s knowledge of permission, online retailers of CBD products strategically place Mr. Eastwood’s name within blog posts and webpage meta descriptions (content that describes and summarizes the contents of a given webpage for the benefit of users and search engines to locate) as a means to promote CBD products and guide customers to an online marketplace that sells CBD products,” the actor’s lawyers wrote.
U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney granted default judgment in favor of Eastwood, writing that “$2 million is a reasonable representation of the fair market value of Mr. Eastwood’s services in lending his influential and known name to a hidden metatag campaign for products he likely would have been unwilling to endorse in the first place.”
Though Eastwood has remained active as a filmmaker and performer into his 90s, he has generally refrained from endorsing commercial products. A notable exception came in 2012, when he appeared in a Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler that emphasized America’s recovery from the Great Recession. Eastwood claims that he took a fee well below his market value of $2 million for that ad because he believed in the message, something that the judge noted in the order.
“We are pleased with the Court’s decision as it recognizes the substantial harm that false endorsements cause,” said Eastwood’s attorney Jordan Susman. “It further sends a message to such offenders that they cannot evade liability by ignoring the legal system. This is a judgment we look forward to collecting.”