Bobby Brown says a 2017 documentary about his late wife Whitney Houston used more than a half-hour’s worth of footage of him and his children without his consent — and that’s good enough for a lawsuit. The one-time New Edition and solo R&B hitmaker has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Showtime and the BBC over their film Whitney: Can I Be Me.
“The film contains footage that Brown and [his late daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown] has never consented to have released,” according the suit filed Tuesday in New York District Court (read it here). “Brown and [his late daughter] appear in the film for a substantial period of time, in excess of thirty (30) minutes. … Brown never signed or executed a release for the airing of the material that appears in the film.”
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The filing also says: “The film contains images of [Brown’s] other children, Landon Brown, Robert ‘Bobby’ Brown Jr. and LaPrincia Brown as minor children. Brown never consented to have his children appear in the film Can I Be Me and his children never consented.”
Showtime declined comment on the suit, which also lists the estate of Bobbi Kristina Brown — Brown’s daughter with Houston — as a plaintiff.
Whitney: Can I Be Me premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime in North America and the BBC in the UK. The suit also notes that the docu was sold to Germany, Italy and the Netherlands “without the consent of the Plaintiffs. All the Defendants are keenly aware that intellectual property about the Plaintiffs and Houston are very valuable and of interest to the public,” it adds.
Brown is the subject of The Bobby Brown Story, a docudrama miniseries that scored solids ratings for BET in March.
The lawsuit, which also names production companies Passion Pictures Corp, B2 Entertainment and Simmons Shelley Entertainment and their principals, seeks more than $2 million in damages. Attorney Christopher Brown of Brown & Rosen in Boston is representing Brown and his daughter’s estate in the legal matter.
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