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Jay-Z takes to the witness stand in ongoing perfume promo dispute

By | Published on Monday 1 November 2021


Ahead of being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame this weekend, Jay-Z was in a New York court on Friday for a tense back and forth with the legal representative of perfume company Parlux. The rapper often provided vague answers to attorney Anthony Viola’s questions or responded with questions of his own. However, he was clear in stating his belief that Parlux is “mischaracterising” the facts in this long-running dispute.

Fragrance firm Parlux sued Jay-Z – real name Shawn Carter – back in 2016, accusing the rapper of failing to meet his commitments to plug Gold Jay-Z, a perfume that Parlux and Carter launched together. The case has been slowly progressing through the courts ever since, with various legal squabbles along the way relating to deleted emails, access to Carter’s work diary, and whether a deposition involving the rapper should be filmed.

In court on Friday, Carter insisted that he did plenty to help promote Gold Jay-Z around its 2013 launch. And when Viola cited specific promotional activities the perfume company had planned, which the rapper bailed on – including an appearance on ‘Good Morning America’ – Carter argued that he wasn’t contractually obliged to do specific promotional work immediately after the fragrance’s launch.

According to Rolling Stone, he stated in court: “I had a year to complete these [obligations], correct?” When Viola continued to push the rapper about his failure to do specific promo, he added: “I don’t know if you answered my question – I had a year to complete these right?” To which the lawyer responded: “Actually, you need to answer my questions”.

That said, elsewhere during the proceedings Viola was keen to talk about the specifics of Jay-Z’s contract with Parlux. The rapper ultimately admitted that he hadn’t read said contract before signing it, but added that he was sure his lawyers had “outlined the details”. His main priority was retaining creative control over all his projects, he went on, while the lawyers could deal with the contract specifics.

Elsewhere, Viola read out an email Carter sent in 2014 in which he said the “partners” on his perfume brand “suck”. But that didn’t bother the rapper, who clearly did think Parlux “sucked” once he started clashing on creative decisions with the perfume firm. “I wanted great products and these guys didn’t understand”, he added. “It was so frustrating working with them”.

It was hoped that Carter’s testimony would be completed within a day, but that didn’t prove to be so. Which means the rapper – freshly inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame by former President Barack Obama and comedian Dave Chappelle – is now due back in court later today.