LOS ANGELES (CN) – International pop star and self-proclaimed “good girl gone bad” Rihanna was unapologetic Tuesday when she sued her father and his business partner for exploiting her name without permission and trying to cash in on her brand to promote their entertainment company.
At one point the company owned by father Ronald Fenty and his business partner Moses Joktan Perkins received a $15 million offer for Rihanna to play 15 shows in Latin America, according to her lawsuit filed in the Central District of California. Neither the company nor the men have business ties to Rihanna, she says.
Rihanna, born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, says she’s worked hard as a businesswoman and artist to build her name, becoming the seventh-best selling music artist in the world based on record sales behind Led Zeppelin and Elton John.
The 30-year-old Barbados-born singer says she’s told her father and Perkins to stop using her likeness to promote their company, Fenty Entertainment.
Ronald Fenty has never had the authority to make business decisions on Rihanna’s behalf, according to her lawsuit, despite what Fenty Entertainment has portrayed to third-parties in business deals or on press releases.
Rihanna has used her surname numerous times to promote her own line of work, including a beauty line, and her New York-based company owns multiple trademarks that include the word “Fenty.”
“The Fenty mark is famous and well-known in the U.S. and around the world to consumers and the public to be affiliated with Rihanna, her businesses and products, and her as an entertainer,” she says in her lawsuit.
Ronald Fenty and Perkins created their entertainment company in April 2017, billing it as a “full-fledged production and talent development company.” But Rihanna says their company has no affiliation with her and never has.
Up until November 2018, the Fenty Entertainment brand fraudulently stated on its social media pages that it was affiliated with the pop star and Perkins said he’s worked with Rihanna in the past, which she says is also false.
Despite a lack of affiliation with Rihanna, Fenty Entertainment received an “exclusive deal” from SBS Entertainment in December 2017 for Rihanna to perform 15 shows in Latin America for $15 million and an additional $400,000 for two 15-minute sets, according to the complaint.
Ronald Fenty and Perkins “accepted” on Rihanna’s behalf and took steps to finalize the deal and receive payment. They even told SBS Entertainment that Rihanna “loved the idea” and “approved” further discussions on the deal, according to the lawsuit.
Fenty Entertainment was told both orally and in writing to stop using Rihanna’s name, but the cease-and-desist letter from March 2018 was ignored, according to the complaint. Rihanna says Ronald Fenty and Perkins applied to trademark “FENTY” in connection with resort boutique hotels this past August, which was denied.
A second cease-and-desist letter was sent last month, but the singer says Ronald Fenty and Perkins continue to make misrepresentations about their connection to her.
Rihanna is represented by Carla M. Wirtschafter with Los Angeles-based law firm Reed Smith. She seeks an injunction to stop her father from using her name, as well as damages including treble damages.
Fenty Entertainment did not respond to an email seeking comment.
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