A judge was not impressed with Cardi B’s celebrity status in court and has ordered the private testimony she gave in a $5 million battle to be revealed to the public.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, a federal judge has ordered the transcript of a deposition Cardi gave in the case to be filed un-redacted.
Cardi is battling a man named Kevin Michael Brophy Jr., who accused her of using his photo on her mixtape cover without permission.
Brophy Jr. recently asked a judge to file certain documents under seal in the case to oppose Cardi’s attempt to get his lawsuit thrown out. The documents he asked to be sealed included Cardi’s deposition transcript, which he said the singer feared could be considered “'sensational and gossip-worthy' and potentially embarrassing to Cardi B as a celebrity” if made public.
The judge was not impressed and denied the request to seal the documents, including the deposition. He wrote, “There are neither compelling reasons nor good cause to file these documents under seal.”
Further, “The parties do not identify any undesirable effect if they were to publish those images for the first time. Lastly, a generalized concern about 'gossip' or possible embarrassment fails to outweigh the presumption in favor of access.”
The judge ordered the deposition to be filed unsealed in the case.
Back in 2017, Kevin Michael Brophy, Jr. sued Cardi B accusing her of lifting his image and plastering it on her artwork for her “Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1.”
He claimed to identify himself by the distinct tattoo of a tiger fighting a snake on his back, and said he never met Cardi or posed for a photo and wanted at least $5 million in damages.
Brophy says he was "shocked, outraged, humiliated, and appalled" when he first saw the photo. He claims Cardi used the pic "in a misleading, offensive, humiliating and provocatively sexual way to launch her career in music and entertainment."
In his suit, Brophy says he "has been devastated as a result" of the mixtape cover and he was worried that "his wife believed he had betrayed her." He even said his young son, who was enrolled in a Christian pre-kindergarten school, saw the photo while he and his wife were reviewing it and he had to explain how it wasn't him in the photo.
He claims the tattoo visible in the photo is "one of a kind" and was done over 10 years ago.
Cardi demanded the case be dismissed and argued the man was trying to profit off her success by going after her through “extortionate means,” and called the use of the image a “classic example of transformative work created in the exercise of the First Amendment rights of the photographer.”
She recently went to court calling the lawsuit a “celebrity shakedown” and demanded it be dismissed before going to trial.
Cardi argues, “The mixtape photo was never sold separately, never used in merchandise, and the mixtape was being released free of charge for much of its life.”
The singer says Brophy’s claim that her using the photo of him played some role in her success is absurd. She points out her, “career’s rapid rise was in fact a direct result of the release, massive promotion and huge success of the single 'Bodak Yellow' by Atlantic Records in mid 2017.”
Cardi is asking the judge to dismiss the entire case before it heads to trial.
The case has dragged on for over a year, with it being put on pause for a minute while Cardi dealt with being pregnant with Kulture. The singer’s deposition even had to be postponed with her lawyer at the time writing that Cardi had, “suffered unanticipated post-partum complications sufficiently serious enough to cause her, among other things, to have to cancel an upcoming and much-publicized tour, performing with Bruno Mars.