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Cardi B artwork legal battle postponed again due to lawyer’s ill health

By | Published on Wednesday 3 August 2022

Cardi B

The court battle between Cardi B and the model who appeared on the cover of her 2016 mixtape ‘Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1’ has been postponed yet again, this time after the rapper’s lawyer became unavailable as a result of a serious illness.

The model suing Cardi B, real name Belcalis Almánzar, is Kevin Brophy, who says his publicity rights were infringed by the ‘Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1’ artwork. That artwork features a man with his back to the camera positioned to look like he is performing oral sex on the rapper. And that man has been Photoshopped so that he has Brophy’s distinctive tattoos on his back.

Brophy argues that because those tattoos are so very distinctive, people assume it is him in the photo. And given the explicit nature of the artwork, that has resulted in him facing frequent “uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule from community members and family”.

The lawsuit relating to those allegations was originally filed in 2017, but the case has taken a very long time to go through the motions, in part delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almánzar also actively sought to delay the dispute getting to court last autumn, citing the birth of her second child as a reason why she couldn’t travel to California for a court hearing.

That resulted in a side dispute, after the rapper attended Paris Fashion Week around the same time, and Brophy argued that proved the rapper had lied when she said she couldn’t currently travel. He tried to have Almánzar formally sanctioned by the court in relation to that side dispute, albeit without success.

And so Brophy was forced back into waiting for his day in court. That was due to finally happen this week, but then the judge overseeing the dispute confirmed another delay was now necessary.

In a short statement, judge Cormac J Carney noted that Almánzar’s lawyer was now seriously ill and therefore unable to represent the rapper in the case. Which means the trial will now take place in October, to give Almánzar time to seek alternative legal representation.