Cardi B is on trial this week. This time, it has to do with her debut mixtape’s artwork, which features a man with a digitally altered tattoo. The original tattoo’s owner claims it wasn’t authorized to be used. The trial in question is a civil lawsuit of $5 million filed by the man who has the original tattoo on his back, which was photoshopped into the man featured on the mixtape’s cover.
Cardi’s Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1 artwork shows her in the back of a limo, drinking a beer with a man in between her legs. Only the man’s back is shown and features a digitally added tattoo of a tiger and a snake. The actual owner of the photoshopped tattoo, Kevin Michael Brophy Jr., – who had never heard of Cardi before this incident – claims that this image “ruined” his life. He even testified that the tattoo is “a core piece” of his identity and that receiving no response to his cease-and-desist letter in 2017 caused him “hurt and shame,” per Rolling Stone.
“It felt like my Michelangelo was stolen off the wall and just literally ripped off and robbed and just put wherever these people wanted to put it,” Brophy testified on Tuesday (Oct. 18). He described the rapper’s imagery as “completely raunchy (and) disgusting.”
According to Billboard, Brophy claims the “WAP” rapper used his identity in a “humiliating and provocatively sexual way to launch her career.” On the other hand, Cardi’s lawyers say that there’s no way of him being identified by the tattoo. The lawyers say that Brophy is “trying to cash in the legal equivalent of a lotto ticket.”
“That’s a self-inflicted wound. He caused that by identifying himself when no one else had identified him as being the person in the image,” one of Cardi’s lawyers said. Furthermore, the lawyer claims that the image was altered enough for it to be considered a “newly created piece of art” and protected by the First Amendment.
The trial will continue this week in Orange County, CA. It’s expected to reach a verdict by Friday. Sources report that the deliberations could happen until next week.