Sacha Baron Cohen launches legal action against US cannabis firm

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Sacha Baron Cohen launches legal action against US cannabis firm

Borat actor says the company is using his comedy character on a billboard despite him never having used the drug - describing it as an 'unhealthy choice'

Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Borat
Sacha Baron Cohen in character as Borat

Sacha Baron Cohen has launched legal action against a US cannabis dispensary allegedly using his comedy character Borat on a billboard, arguing he has never used the drug as it is an “unhealthy choice”.

The British star filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts accusing Solar Therapeutics of copyright infringement and false advertising.

A picture of the offending billboard features Baron Cohen as Borat giving a thumbs up alongside the words, “it’s nice!”.

The advert is placed on a busy interstate highway in Massachusetts to sell Solar Therapeutics’s cannabis products, according to the lawsuit.

However, the use of Borat – a fictional bumbling Kazakh journalist who featured in two hugely popular films – is unauthorised, the filing states.

Baron Cohen, 49, has never used cannabis and would not advertise the drug for any amount of money, the lawsuit says.

It states he does not believe the drug is a “healthy choice” and his Ali G character – a white, suburban wannabe rapper – was a “mockery of ‘stoner’ culture”.

And Baron Cohen, described in the lawsuit as an observant Jew, does not want to enter the “heated” debate surrounding the drug’s use in Judaism.

The actor, writer and director has never advertised any product in the UK or US “despite countless opportunities to do so” over fears it would “weaken his credibility as an actor and as a serious social activist”.

Baron Cohen, a three-time Oscar nominee, turned down a 4 million dollar (£2.9 million) offer to appear in a car commercial, according to the lawsuit.

And it notes cannabis remains illegal in many US states.

Baron Cohen’s lawyer alleges Solar Therapeutics did not believe he would see the offending billboard “so they took a gamble” in putting Borat’s likeness on it.

Baron Cohen is seeking damages of at least 9 million dollars (£6.5 million) and has asked a judge to order Solar Therapeutics to stop using his likeness.

The company is yet to respond.

The second Borat film – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – arrived in October last year to critical acclaim, earning Baron Cohen a nomination for best adapted screenplay at the Oscars.

Borat 2 went viral for a clip involving Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer.

The ex-New York City mayor was filmed with his hand down his trousers while in a hotel room with actress Maria Bakalova, who was disguised as a reporter.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: