Justin Timberlake has been named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit accusing drinks company executives of deceiving consumers.
California-based man Kevin Branca filed a complaint against Bai Brands, its founder Ben Weiss, its parent company Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and Dr. Pepper president Larry Young last month (Apr18), claiming its beverages were falsely labelled as containing only natural ingredients.
Branca has now added Timberlake’s name to his lawsuit as a defendant, according to The Blast. The star has reportedly invested in the firm, where he holds the title of Chief Flavor Officer. Last year (17) the Rock Your Body singer starred in a Super Bowl commercial promoting Bai’s range of fruit health drinks.
Documents obtained by the U.S. gossip site accuse the pop superstar of providing monetary assistance to the firm and promoting the brand, and accused him and Bai executives of having, “knowingly entered” into agreements to “commit fraud and other unlawful acts by agreeing to promote artificially flavored beverage products as if they were solely naturally flavored without synthetic chemical ingredients.”
The complaint also cites the musician’s Super Bowl commercial, in which he appeared alongside Christopher Walken, as promoting the company’s disputed claims to “millions of consumers”.
Branca alleges that Bai’s advertising is misleading as the drinks are marketed as all natural but actually contain a synthetic chemical flavoring compound known as malic acid. He is seeking a court order requiring the company and Timberlake to pay back any money earned as a result of the allegedly improper marketing as well as additional punitive damages.
Weiss founded Bai in 2009 and signed up Timberlake to the ‘Flavor Officer’ role in 2016. The firm was sold to Dr. Pepper Snapple for $1.7 billion the following year.