Cypress Hill Backup Singer Files $250 Million Suit Against Rockstar Games
Michael "Shagg" Washington says Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas based the Carl Johnson character on his childhood without permission.
Since its release in 2004, “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” has raked in over $1 billion in profits. The game featured lead character Carl “C.J.” Johnson, which was voiced by rapper Chris “Young Maylay” Bellard. And while ”GTA: San Andreas” had a Hip Hop feel courtesy of voiceovers from fellow emcees Game, Yo Yo, MC Eiht and others, Michael “Shagg” Washington has filed a suit alleging the makers of the video game used and profited from elements of his life.
A complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, states the following:
“The plaintiff had never seen the game. He did not own or play video games, but it seemed possible that he had been included in the game. He then recalled the meeting in or about 2003, and it began to dawn on him that his image had been stolen for the game. Upon examination of images of ‘CJ’ and comparison to his photos from that year and other evidence, it became clear that Rockstar (the developer of Grand Theft Auto) had stolen his image and never paid him.”
Washington is reportedly listed among the “GTA: San Andreas” credits. According to a statement given to The Hollywood Reporter he has also worked as a background singer for Cypress Hill and a model. Washington’s suit, which charges Rockstar with misappropriation of likeness and copyright infringement, calls for $250 million—roughly 25 percent of the profits earned from the game.