Vietnamese Musician Involved in Controversy Over Unauthorised Utilization of Lionel Messi in Music Video

Pham Ngoc Quoc Cuong, a successful entrepreneur, shared how he played a role in connecting music artist Jack to soccer star Lionel Messi. Cuong revealed that no signed agreement had been made between the two parties regarding Jack's usage of Messi's image in his music video.

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Businessman Pham Ngoc Quoc Cuong, one of the individuals to whom young Vietnamese singer Jack apologized in his September 3 statement, addressed the issue on September 4 regarding Jack’s encounter with and utilization of the image of renowned football superstar Lionel Messi in his music video titled ‘Tu noi toi sinh ra’ (From Where I Was Born).

Recording Artist’s Come-Back MV Prompts Request to Remove Messi Scene

On the afternoon of September 4, Cuong shared a social media post from his friend, Nguyen Quoc Anh. The post claimed that Cuong had said Quoc Anh was one of the two people, including Cuong himself, who took Jack to meet Messi.

In the post, Quoc Anh confirmed that both parties had reached an agreement regarding the photos and videos, stating that they were intended as souvenir photos and could be posted on Facebook. Consequently, Jack’s decision to create a music video and hold a press conference left Quoc Anh feeling “arbitrary” and “disrespectful”.

Additionally, Quoc Anh, in his confirmation statement, clarified that Messi was unaware of Jack’s identity and had not agreed to appear alongside him in the music video. He requested that Jack remove the music video entirely or delete the scene featuring Messi and also correct the misleading information provided to the press.

Vietnamese Singer Faces Scandal for Using Footage of Messi in Newly Released MV
Entrepreneur Quoc Cuong (far left) is not satisfied with Jack’s handling of the case Messi appeared in Jack’s MV. Photo from FB

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Cuong, who was mentioned in Jack’s apology post regarding the scandal involving the use of Messi’s image in his latest music video, has just addressed the incident on his personal page, which boasts a following of over 29,000.

In the article, Cuong recounts the journey Jack undertook to meet Messi in France. Cuong emphasizes the challenges in arranging this meeting and mentions how Jack had to ask for Messi’s consent before making the trip.

After receiving confirmation from acquaintances in France, businessman Quoc Cuong extended an invitation to Jack to join him. Reflecting on his decision, Cuong expressed, “Following a personal introduction by a close friend, Jack and I engaged in conversations where he shared stories and expressed his unwavering enthusiasm for football, accompanied by a passionate drive to reclaim his former glory. Impressed by his dedication and shared aspirations for success, I chose to extend the invitation, allowing Jack to tag along.”

Vietnamese Singer Faces Scandal for Using Footage of Messi in Newly Released MV
Before that, Jack once spoke out against the rumor of spending 60 billion for Messi to appear in the MV ‘Tu noi toi sinh ra’.

According to businessman Quoc Cuong, Jack mentioned the idea of incorporating filming into the music video. Cuong responded candidly, asking, “What kind of budget do you think we would need to secure Messi’s appearance in the music video?”

The businessman further revealed: “I asked my friends and family, and they all said that no one dared to tell Messi. However, if the content is made into a documentary solely for personal keeping and without any commercial or monetization purposes, it doesn’t matter. This condition has also been clearly stated.”

Regarding this viral incident, Cuong shared further, “I was too trusting but misunderstood that individual – someone deceptive and obstinate. Therefore, it is now my duty to clarify the misleading statement, ensuring everyone comprehends the truth and leaving no room for speculation or ambiguity on the internet.”

Talking to Thanh Nien newspaper, businessman Quoc Cuong expressed his viewpoint regarding the issue. Following the subsequent backlash, the businessman expressed his regret over arranging a meeting between Jack and Messi.

Before the fact that Messi appeared in the MV “Tu noi toi sinh ra”, it had garnered significant attention. Additionally, there were reports indicating that the singer had spent VND 60 billion (USD 2.4 million) to invite the football superstar to be a part of this project. However, in a press release published on September 9, Jack’s team refuted these rumors.

In addition, Jack’s team expressed their apologies to various organizations and individuals, including businessman Quoc Cuong, for the delay in addressing the issue, which inadvertently tarnished his reputation and integrity. “Considering the extensive nature of social networks, it is challenging to completely control the spread of false rumors. With utmost humility, we kindly request everyone’s understanding,” Jack conveyed on his Fanpage, which boasts a substantial following of over 2.3 million individuals.

During a press conference on August 31, Messi’s “broker” informed that the MV should not reference political or national issues, nor engage in commercial promotion of Messi’s image. Consequently, Jack’s crew refrained from activating monetization on his YouTube channel and avoided seeking sponsorship.

Vietnamese Singer Asked to Delete MV with Messi
Messi appears in Jack’s MV. Snapshot from Jack’s Facebook page.

Cuong expressed disagreement with Jack’s statement, referring to it as “fabricated”. Cuong mentioned that when discussing Jack’s wishes with the connector (avoiding the term “broker”), they emphasized that anyone working in the media industry should have a solid understanding of image usage. The connector clarified during the press conference that the content in question was intended to be a documentary rather than for commercial purposes.

He continues to emphasize that, “I have not made a judgment on whether it is right or wrong, but considering that he has released a music video and held a press conference, even if he disables monetization, his content is still trending at the top. I am unsure if the opposing side can provide evidence that he is still earning money from it or not. I can confidently state that there is no agreement with Messi, and there is no signed document regarding any agreement with Messi.”

The recent post by businessman Quoc Cuong has generated widespread public interest. Numerous individuals have expressed their dissatisfaction with Jack’s ambiguous statement regarding meeting Messi in Europe on the day of the MV release. Simultaneously, fans of the renowned soccer star are dismayed by the singer’s exploitation of Messi’s image to garner views for the MV.

Controversial Singer Found Involved in Yet Another Controversy

Emerging as an internet phenomenon since 2019, Jack quickly rose to prominence as a beloved and highly sought-after young singer. However, in 2021, when he had achieved fame, he found himself the subject of numerous accusations. Furthermore, the male singer faced heavy criticism for allegedly dating multiple girls and for his seeming neglect towards his girlfriend who had to give birth on her own, with no apparent involvement from him in caring for their daughter.

Although he issued an apology, the public remained adamant in their decision to boycott the male singer. Consequently, Jack took a hiatus from the entertainment industry for an unspecified period of time. In July 2022, he made his highly-anticipated comeback with the release of the track “Lonely Star,” which swiftly ascended to the top spot on YouTube’s trending list. Nevertheless, mere hours later, the singer from Ben Tre found himself embroiled in a controversy concerning allegations of plagiarism surrounding his song.

Prior to this claim, the male singer remained silent and refrained from addressing any issues. Furthermore, his return sparked anger among netizens. Many individuals expressed their dissatisfaction and even advocated for boycotting, asserting that the audience should hold artists accountable for their past controversies and not allow for a swift return to the entertainment industry following a period of silence. As of now, Jack’s fanpage – J97 – boasts a sizable following of 2.3 million individuals who regularly receive updates on the male singer’s latest images and entertainment endeavors.

Hannah Nguyen