Jay-Z secured a win in his arbitration battle with Iconix Brand after a judge halted the proceedings, thus agreeing with the hip hop mogul’s claim that there were too few Black arbitrators to ensure he would receive equal protection under the law.
“This is historic,” said Jay-Z’s attorney, Alex Spiro.
Jay-Z is in the middle of a lawsuit dispute over the handling of his RocNation company logo but talks between the parties stalled because the rapper wanted a more diversified arbitration team, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Iconix Brand sued Jay over the use of the RocNation logo after the company claimed they paid him $204 million for merchandising rights only to be undercut after they saw the unauthorized use of the logo on MLB gear.
The parties planned to meet in arbitration to come to an agreement. However, Jay-Z’s attorney said there is a Nov. 30 deadline to pick an arbitrator but the list lacks diversity – meaning too many white folks to pick from the arbitrator pot.
“When Mr. Carter began reviewing arbitrators on the AAA’s Search Platform, however, 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. After repeated requests to the AAA for diverse arbitrators with expertise in complex commercial law, the AAA was able to provide only three neutrals it identified as African-American: two men — one of whom was a partner at the law firm representing Iconix in this arbitration and thus had a glaringly obvious conflict of interest — and one woman.”
On Wednesday, New York Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla agreed and granted the motion that resulted in a temporary restraining order that stops the arbitration at least until the next court date, which is set for Dec. 11.