A parody rap video designed to shoot up the YouTube charts — and double as a class project — has landed two New Jersey brothers out of their jobs and facing a $1 million lawsuit.
The brothers, both college students, worked part time at an A&P grocery store where their father is the produce manager. One evening, after the store was closed, they shot a video featuring all sorts of fruits and vegetables. They called it “Produce Paradise” and posted it to YouTube at the beginning of the month.
The video has moments of brilliance, but the brothers, Mark and Matthew D’Avella, are pretty terrible rappers. Doing just about anything you can think of with produce — chopping it, eating it, juggling it, stewing it, peeing on it, and putting it down their pants — their best line is: “It’s the lower middle portion of the food pyramid.”
Though the two swear they had permission to film the video — and claim they purchased all the produced harmed during the filming “elsewhere” (see more of their defense on their site) — their employer is none too pleased. Last week, A&P fired them, and this week, it sued them for defamation. The grocery chain is seeking damages of at least $1 million.
Despite the alleged damage it inflicted on the grocery chain, the video (which is still up) has not actually done all that well by YouTube standards, with under 65,000 views. But the story has now made it to The Associated Press and other media outlets, so it’s not over yet.