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Rihanna sues her dad for fraudulently exploiting her brand

By | Published on Wednesday 16 January 2019


Rihanna is suing her father, accusing him of exploiting her name and brand to fraudulently generate millions of dollars for a company he set up in 2017. In a new legal filing, the star says that she has no formal business ties to her father or his firm, and yet he and his business partner have repeatedly claimed to represent his daughter’s professional interests.

Ronald Fenty set up his company, Fenty Entertainment LLC, in 2017 with business partner Moses Perkins. From the off the name creates some confusion, given that Rihanna has used her surname in various business ventures and – given the family connection – her father doing so likewise arguably implies a formal link to said ventures. But more importantly, says the lawsuit, Fenty Senior’s firm has made explicit claims to represent the musician, both on its website and in conversations and negotiations with third parties.

Among the specific allegations in the lawsuit is that Fenty Senior negotiated deals with one third-party for Rihanna to perform fifteen shows in Latin America at $1 million a gig and two short spots in LA and Las Vegas for $400,000. He told the third party his daughter “loved the idea” and wanted to sign up for the shows, but in fact he’d not spoken to her about the proposed concerts at all, nor did he have a formal mandate to have any such conversations in the first place.

Then last year Fenty Entertainment tried to file an application with the US Patent & Trademark Office for protected use of the Fenty mark in relation to a planned boutique hotel venture. But, Rihanna’s people claim, that was just a ruse to make it look like Fenty Senior’s company had some sort of formal affiliation with his daughter’s business.

On top of all of that, Rihanna’s reps have requested that her father stop suggesting or claiming that his company represents his daughter in anyway multiple times. The lawsuit states: “Mr Fenty, Mr Perkins and the company’s fraudulent conduct is particularly egregious because they repeatedly have been told to stop making these misrepresentations, and to cease and desist all activity and efforts to exploit Rihanna’s name and the goodwill associated with the Fenty brand”. The most recent cease and desist letter was sent just last month.

With none of those demands having been met by Fenty Senior and his company, the lawsuit reckons that “judicial intervention is necessary because defendants have made clear that they have no intention of ceasing their fraudulent and infringing conduct”. In fact, they add, “in the face of clear warnings, defendants continue to unabashedly perpetuate this fraud in an attempt to profit at the expense of Rihanna’s rights”.

In case you wondered, the legal papers specifically accuse Rihanna’s dad of false advertising, false designation of origin, invasion of privacy and a breach of his daughter’s publicity rights under Californian law. She is seeking an assortment of damages, including all lost profits, costs for ‘corrective advertising’ and all and any legal fees she will incur along the way.