Frank Ocean is being sued by Chipotle
According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Frank Ocean is the subject of a new lawsuit from the burrito-maker big-wigs at Chipotle.
The complaint explains that Chipotle hired Frank to record a cover of "Pure Imagination," a song from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, written by composers Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The cover was intended for use in a advertisement titled "Scarecrow," but it was never delivered.
Through the Creative Arts Agency (CAA), Frank expressed interest to record the track and thus the company explained it's purpose:
to raise awareness of the dangers of industrial farming and promoting local, sustainably-sourced food.
According to the plaintiff, it was made explicitly clear that the ad was being paid for in full by Chipotle and that Frank had seen an unfinished version of the animation that would accompany his vocal. The contract was signed and the deadline was set for August 7th, 2013. Frank's compensation for the song was $425,000 in total—$212,500 up front and $212,500 upon completion.
Frank entered the studio to record the song on August 7th, the date of the deadline. There, he watched the final animation which included a bumper on the end of the video featuring Chipotle's branding. Seeing this, he refused to perform until the bumper was removed.
Here is a portion of the email that Frank's counsel sent to Chipotle following the deadline:
When Frank was asked to participate in this project, Chipotle's representatives told him that the thrust of the campaign was to promote responsible farming. There was no Chipotle reference or logo in the initial presentation, and Chipotle told Frank that was an intentional element of the campaign. Frank was also promised that he'd have the right to approve the master and all advertising, promotional and publicity materials, and that was incorporated into the agreement Frank signed with Chipotle (the "Agreement"). Chipotle materially breached the Agreement when it refused to permit Frank to approve the music for the ad and when it refused to remove the Chipotle logo from the ad. At that point, Frank had the right to terminate the Agreement, which he excercised.
Chipotle is demanding the repayment of the $212,500 that was paid to Ocean for his services.
UPDATE 3/10: Frank has settled the lawsuit and he did it with sass.
If you're curious about the ad, the company moved forward and released it on September 11, 2013. Rather than Frank singing the Willy Wonka classic, however, the company contracted Fiona Apple to provide the musical bed. Watch the video below.