Robert John Burck, better known as the Naked Cowboy, filed a suit against a world-wide manufacturer of confectionery, pet food and other food products, Mars. Incorporated, for using his image – a cowboy in white underwear, cowboy boots and a hat – in commercial purposes. The company placed his image on a Times Square billboard to advertise a blue M&M candy.
An American busker and prominent fixture of New York City 's Times Square, Burck hopes to get $6 million as indemnity.
Burck began his street performance career in 1998 after a shoot at Playgirl and first appeared on Venice Beach . After some disappointing starts, a friend had suggested to him that he dress only in his underwear.
The billboards feature a clad blue M&M with a guitar. The court stated that the company used the image without any compensations to the author.
No further comment from both sides is available.