In Atlanta, singer Bobby Brown receives three proclamations acknowledging his plans to build a shelter for domestic violence victims in honor of his late daughter Bobbi Kristina, despite allegations he once hit his ex-wife Whitney Houston. (July 31)
Bobby Brown is coming after Showtime and the BBC with a $2 million lawsuit over the 2017 Whitney Houston documentary “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” claiming the film harmed him by improperly using footage from his 2005 Bravo reality series “Being Bobby Brown.”
While the film received largely positive reviews from critics, Brown’s lawsuit accuses the “Can I Be Me” backers of using his image without his permission, with his team writing in his lawsuit, “Every person should have the right to control how their identity or likeness or personality, or voice, name or image is commercialized by others.”
In addition to the two television networks, which Brown sued after they aired the documentary, the lawsuit also names Passion Pictures, Tracey Baker-Simmons, Wanda Shelley, B2 Entertainment and Simmons Shelley Entertainment, according to the BBC and NBC.
According to the lawsuit, Brown claims that over 30 minutes of footage from “Being Bobby Brown” showing his late daughter Bobbi Kristina appears in the documentary. The suit insists Brown did not giving permission for the documentary to use that material.
“The footage was actually recorded prior to the divorce in 2007 between Brown and Houston,” reads the document. “Brown never signed or executed a release for the airing of the material that appears in the film. The footage of Brown is approximately fifteen years old… Assuming that Plaintiff(s) have proper title to the footage, they do not have proper title to its contents.”
“The film contains images of [Brown’s] other children, Landon Brown, Robert ‘Bobby’ Brown Jr. and LaPrincia Brown as minor children,” the filing continues. “Brown never consented to have his children appear in the film ‘Can I Be Me’ and his children never consented.”
The suit also contains a letter from one of the film’s co-directors, Nick Broomfield, who wrote to Brown in 2016 in hopes of obtaining an interview.
“I am particularly keen to do a positive piece that explains the life of Whitney in a loving and enlightening way,” Broomfield wrote. “We have a huge respect for Bobby Brown, his work as an artist and his achievements. We’re of the firm belief that he has been judged very hard and would like to see this as an opportunity for him to tell his story from the heart. We can assure you we have no agenda and come in good faith.”
“Whitney: Can I Be Me” first screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2017, with the lawsuit claiming that the movie premiere was an attempt to drum up support for the film against Brown’s wishes.
USA TODAY has contacted Brown’s representatives for comment.
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