Bobby Brown sues over Whitney Houston documentary footage

Whitney Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown is suing Showtime Networks and the BBC, alleging unauthorised footage was used in the 2017 documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me.

A complaint was filed with the US District Court in New York on Wednesday, by Brown and the estate of the couple’s daughter Bobbi Kristina.

It claims the footage harmed Brown, his business and Bobbi Kristina’s estate.

Showtime, the BBC and Brown’s lawyer have not commented.

  • The rise and fall of a superstar
  • A look back at Whitney Houston’s career
  • Bobby Brown describes daughter as ‘an angel’
  • R&B singer Brown said consent to use the footage was not given, adding the material is about 15 years old. It was shot before he and singer Houston divorced in 2007, and before her death in 2012.

The complaint said: “Every person should have the right to control how their identity or likeness or personality, or voice, name or image is commercialised by others.”

The film, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival last year, was then also broadcast on Showtime and the BBC.

The complaint added: “It draws on interviews with Houston’s friends and people who knew her, as well as archival footage.”

Reuters reported that the plaintiffs want at least $2m (£1.5m) for violations of their rights of publicity and false advertising, and an injunction against the documentary’s distribution.