One of America's oldest grocers has sued two college students for licking its produce on YouTube.
Last week, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company - better known as A&P - slapped a $1m lawsuit on former employees Mark and Matthew D'Avella, accusing the two YouTubers of defaming the 147-year-old grocery chain in an online rap video called "Produce Paradise."
According to the suit - filed in New Jersey superior court on August 24 and recently tracked down by an El Reg hack desperate for a good read - the video shows the D'Avella brothers "doing various disparaging and disgusting things" inside the Califon, New Jersey A&P where they worked as shelf stockers before getting the sack six days ago. "At least one customer," A&P says, is extremely miffed by the video, which has the rappers "licking packaged produce and putting it back on the selling shelf" - among other things.
"This customer, understandably, was disgusted and distressed by the scenes depicted in the video," the suit reads. "Also understandably, this customer informed A&P that she would not be shopping in its stores in the future owning to the repulsive acts depicted and performed by defendants in the rap video. Given the false and disparaging statements and depictions concerning A&P an its products within the rap video, it is likely that numerous other customers of A&P will have similar reactions."
Claiming that one of the brothers dons an A&P hat in the video, the grocer has also accused the two of trademark infringement. "[The brothers] are aspiring rap artists whose use of the A&P logo and of the Califon A&P premises in the rap video to promote their rap video, and market their rapping abilities, is likely to cause confusion."
With their "Produce Paradise" video - available on YouTube as well as their personal website - the D'Avellas spend four minutes and 16 seconds rapping about, well, produce. Billing themselves as the "Fresh Beets," they lay down rhymes like "Produce. Produce. What you see is what you get, except the cut fruit, now that's some nasty shit" and "Excuse me sir, where did this grow? Bitch, do I look Mexican, I don't know." In addition to licking some fruits and vegetables, they seem to urinate on others. "But don't come up to me acting all rude because I won't be afraid to pee in your food," they chant.
A&P's suit demands that the D'Avellas remove the video from the web - and fork over $1m in damages. The company seems to ignore the video's claim that one brother was a two-time employee-of-the-month.
Meanwhile, the suit has ensured that "Produce Paradise" has now been viewed at least 41,000 times. And counting. ®