NEW YORK – A pet-wear company is suing rap sensation DMX (search), insisting it didn't know he had pleaded guilty to animal-cruelty charges when it hired him to be the spokesman for a new line of canine clothes.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Amusing Diversions Inc. (search) said it didn't know what it was getting into when it teamed up with the actor-rapper, be cause it had been assured he had "a positive connection" with the canine community, and told he'd done "dog awareness" radio spots urging people to be kind to their animals.
The company, headed by long-time pet product magnate Eric Arginsky, found out after it went into business with DMX that there was a little more to the dog-ad tale.
"In fact, [DMX] made the radio spots for dog awareness as part of a community-service obligation judicially imposed upon him for having been involved in animal cruelty," the suit says.
That and other problems with the bad boy — who growls and barks on many of his songs — has cost Arginsky $90,000, the suit says.
Arginsky went into business with the "Get At Me Dog" rapper last June.
"We wanted to put out high-end dog-wear, and were turned onto DMX" because of his barking, said Amusing Diversions' lawyer, Michael Rovell.
The line included items like leather jackets, bubble jackets with fur trim, sports jerseys and other "urban" dog wear.
"It was supposed to be a niche market for the larger dog," Rovell said. They paid DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons (search), $15,000 up front to act as their spokesman.
"There were problems immediately after the money was paid," Rovell said. When the company launched the line in Las Vegas last year, DMX "appeared late and drunk," the suit says.
He was also supposed to promote the line when he went on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and the "Sharon Osbourne Show," (search) but he never mentioned it, the suit says.
The company learned of his dog-unfriendly past when it tried to market the canine clothes to various pet stores and were turned down because of DMX's history.
DMX pleaded guilty to animal-cruelty charges in 2002, after officials found 14 pit bulls living in poor conditions at his New Jersey home.
He was fined and ordered to do the animal-cruelty ads. The rapper still has several pit bulls, and has a tattoo of his late dog Boomer on his back.
Representatives for DMX could not be reached for comment. The suit seeks the return of the $15,000 it paid the rapper, as well as the $75,000 it sank into the clothing line that DMX allegedly did in with his "disastrous" breach of contract.