He calls himself 50 Cent, but the hip-hop mogul says he may not be worth even that.
The rapper known for the album and movie “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” filed for bankruptcy protection Monday as he faced a hefty payout in a lawsuit related to a sex tape.
In a document filed with a federal bankruptcy court, the rapper whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III listed both his assets and liabilities at between $10 million and $50 million.
50 Cent insisted in a published interview that he was “taking the precautions that any other good businessperson would take in this situation.”
50 Cent insisted that he did not want to be a “bull’s eye” for someone with “astronomical claims” against him.
The bankruptcy filing, which would protect 50 Cent from paying creditors, came days after a jury ordered him to pay $5 million to a woman who appeared in a sex tape that went online in 2009.
In the video, 50 Cent poses as his alter ego Pimpin’ Curly, sporting a wig and speaking in an artificially high voice, as he narrates the Florida woman’s sexual encounter and mocks fellow rapper Rick Ross, who has a child with her.
50 Cent’s lawyers said that he was not responsible and that Ross or Ross’s associates released the video, in which the woman has sex with another man.
But a New York jury sided with the woman, holding 50 Cent responsible for violating her civil rights and inflicting emotional distress.
He filed for bankruptcy just as the court was determining whether he owes further punitive damages. The woman’s lawyer had reportedly asked for total damages of $20 million.
It was the latest costly settlement for 50 Cent.
Last year, he was ordered to pay $16 million to Sleek Audio, a headphone maker with which he was once affiliated, after the company accused him of spreading trade secrets and other misdeeds.
As the sex tape case went forward, 50 Cent in May put into bankruptcy protection a boxing promotion company he owns, SMS Promotions LLC.
The bankruptcy filing said that 50 Cent owed “primarily consumer debts” rather than business-related costs.
Rapper turned businessman –
50 Cent was born in poverty in New York, the son of a 15-year-old mother who was dealing cocaine and was murdered when he was a child.
The 40-year-old achieved success after being championed by two of hip-hop’s biggest names, Eminem and Dr Dre.
He has not retired from rapping, with his latest album “Street King Immortal” still awaiting release, but in recent years has competed with Dr Dre and Jay-Z as a rapper turned businessman.
Forbes magazine estimated earlier this year that 50 Cent was worth $155 million, having made $100 million in 2007 by selling his stake in energy drink VitaminWater.
He has also invested in the mining of platinum and other heavy metals in South Africa.
The New York-born rapper listed his address as a mansion in Farmington, Connecticut.
The home was once owned by boxer Mike Tyson. According to various accounts, it has around 20 bedrooms, an eight-car garage and its own disco.