Singer Frank Ocean is being sued by Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle. According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, March 7, the company says it paid the Channel Orange star $212,500 to record a cover of “Pure Imagination,” a song originally made famous when Gene Wilder sung it in 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The suit says the track was supposed to appear in a marketing campaign promoting locally and sustainably sourced food over industrial farming practices. Ocean (born Christopher Breaux) was due to turn in the track on August 7, when he was also set to receive another $212,500, but he instead informed the company that he would not be participating in the campaign.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, his legal team sent a letter that included the following explanation: “When Frank was asked to participate in this project, Chipotle’s representatives told him that the thrust of the campaign was to promote responsible farming. There was no Chipotle reference or logo in the initial presentation, and Chipotle told Frank that was an intentional element of the campaign,” the letter reads in part. “Frank was also promised that he’d have the right to approve the master and all advertising.”
Chipotle acknowledges in the suit that there was no logo on the early version of the animation that Ocean saw, which they say was 80% finished, but claims that he always knew that the commercial was an advertisement for the company. Chipotle is suing to recover the $212,500 payment, plus damages.
The commercial’s song was eventually recorded by Fiona Apple.