A couple of years ago, comedian Kevin Hart teamed up with a Virginia mobile-game developer called Stand Up Digital, Inc., to develop and release a video game called “Gold Ambush” that would feature Hart and his family members as playable characters. Hart licensed his likeness to Stand Up and was granted a 20% stake in the company as well as a seat on the board of directors in exchange. The game was launched in September 2017 but did not perform as well as the developer had hoped and is no longer available for download. Stand Up attributes the poor performance of the game to Hart’s decision to issue an emotional apology on Instagram–just days prior to the game’s launch–following rumors of infidelity. In the recording , Hart apologized to his wife and kids for having done “something wrong” and said that he would not permit “another person to have financial gain off his mistakes.” The video has been viewed several million times.
Stand Up sued Hart for breach of fiduciary duty (amid other claims), arguing that Hart’s failure to warn it of his plans to “go public” about the alleged affair before posting his Instagram apology damaged the success of Gold Ambush. The court allowed the case to proceed through the discovery phase but ultimately entered summary judgment in Hart’s favor on the fiduciary-duty claim, finding that there was no evidence he breached such a duty.