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Terrence Howard sues “Empire” studio for using unauthorized ‘Hustle & Flow’ image

The actor claims the studio used an image from his role in ‘Hustle & Flow’ for the “Empire” logo without paying him.

Terrence Howard Getty Images

Actor Terrence Howard has filed a lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Film for unpaid compensation from the hit series “Empire” — for using his likeness in the show’s logo without his permission.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Howard, who played Lucious Lyon on “Empire” for six seasons, and his attorney Lawrence Townsend are suing the network for breach of contract. Howard says he was given the run around when he asked about receiving royalties for using his image and name.

“The image was of Plaintiff and did not, in and of itself, raise a question,” states the complaint. “The Agreement granted all rights to Plaintiff’s name and likeness to Defendant in connection with the Series.”

“Although the Agreement did grant publicity and promotional uses to Defendant, but only if Defendant sought and obtained approval rights to images used, the Agreement did not however permit direct endorsement of goods and services other than the Series,” the complaint continued.

The image in question is the logo for “Empire,” which featured a picture of Howard’s face. He says that he never did a photo shoot for the logo. Fox reportedly used a still image from Howard’s role as DJay in the 2005 film, Hustle & Flow.

The complaint states that in the course of an investigation “it became clear that the image of Plaintiff used for the Logo was derived from a still shot (a precise frame) from the Paramount motion picture Hustle & Flow, taken from recording-session scene where the movie’s theme song, ‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,’ is sung. The still frame was selected, reversed (face looking left, not right) and subjected to CGI that simply distilled the cinematographer’s skilled capture of the head with vibrant light and shadow.”

The total amount Howard is seeking is currently unknown to the public.

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