Jay-Z Says Arbitrator Panel In Trademarking Case Is Too White To Be Fair

Hip Hop mogul, Shawn Carter a.k.a #JayZ, believes that minority business owners should be able to select panelists in arbitration from a group that “reflects the diverse population.” And because the American Arbitration Association provided zero black panelists, Jay is asking the court to delay the arbitration with clothing company #Iconix until the AAA can provide a larger selection of black arbitrators.

The case filed in Manhattan Supreme Court is against the clothing company Iconix, who fought Jay’s #Rocawear brand back in 2007, to delay an impending arbitration over trademark infringement claims related to his #RocNation baseball cap line. Iconix and Carter have been having a legal battle since last year, first with Iconix suing over a hat deal with Major League Baseball that would interfere with their licensing agreement. Now, they’ve filed an arbitration proceeding against Carter demanding financial information. Carter’s attorney believes it’s a litigation tactic.

However, according to the suit, when Jay reviewed members of the AAA, “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.” The association was able to identify three black arbitrators but one was unavailable.

Jay-Z said, “The AAA’s lack of African-American arbitrators came as a surprise to [Carter], in part because of AAA’s advertising touting its diversity.” Without diversity, black litigants like Jay-Z aren’t granted “the equal protection of the laws,” he says in the court docs. He adds the “token number of African-Americans” violates public policy.

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