Jay-Z (born Shawn Carter) has sued to halt his private arbitration with a clothing company over the Roc Nation logo, saying he needs to see more people of color on the list of potential arbitrators, TMZ reports.
“The AAA’s lack of African-American arbitrators came as a surprise to [Carter], in part because of AAA’s advertising touting its diversity,” the rapper says in the new Manhattan Supreme Court suit.
According to docs, obtained by TMZ, Jay-Z’s lawyers are requesting a restraining order that would put an immediate halt to the lawsuit Iconix Brand filed against him. In the docs, Jay-Z’s attorney, Alex Spiro of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, says they’ve been given a deadline of Nov. 30 to choose an arbitrator in the case, but the list of candidates they’ve been given is, quite frankly, too lily-white.
Iconix Brand says it paid $204 million for merchandising rights for the Roc Nation logo. Iconix sued Jay because the logo got slapped on a bunch of MLB gear without its permission. Both sides have agreed to handle the dispute in arbitration, rather than open court.
via Page Six:
But when Jay-Z went to review members of the AAA “he was confronted with a stark reality: he could not identify a single African-American arbitrator on the ‘Large and Complex Cases’ roster, composed of hundreds of arbitrators, that had the background and experience to preside over the arbitration,” the suit says.
Without that diversity, Black litigants like Jay-Z are deprived of “the equal protection of the laws,” he says in the filing. He adds the “token number of African-Americans” violates public policy.
The American Arbitration Association eventually identified three Black arbitrators, but one of them couldn’t serve due to a conflict of interest.
Jay’s asking the court to delay the arbitration with Iconix until the AAA can provide a larger pool of Black arbitrators.
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