Just as he was contemplating joining the middle-aged showbiz establishment, Eminem finds himself on the receiving end of a $9 million lawsuit.
Popular music is littered with stories of obscure members of the public emerging to claim responsibility for writing massive hits. It’s an indication of the way music has moved on that in this case the claim concerns a Chrysler commercial.
Stephen Lee Pieck, of no fixed abode, filed the suit in New York claiming that he outlined the exact format of the commercial in a phone call to Eminem in September 2010.
Pieck adds some colourful details. The way he tells it, Pieck was having dinner with Christina Aguilera and her then husband Jordan Bratman in a seafood restaurant. Aguilera called Eminem, handed the phone to Pieck, who claims he then gave Eminem the idea for the "Born Of Fire" commercial.
The commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 2011, with Eminem’s Lose Yourself as the soundtrack. Super Bowl ads are the most lucrative slots in the US television year, although it’s not clear how much Eminem would have received for his part in the commercial.
Pieck is asking for the $9 million for coming up with the idea. "I designed every aspect of the commercial and the commercial was stolen from me," his lawsuit states. "In addition, I did not receive compensation in monetary terms for the work I did."
Regardless of the outcome of the case, Eminem might want to use call-screening next time Aguilera decides to give him a ring.