50 Cent Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Following Sex Tape Verdict

Rapper uses filing as debt reorganization plan following verdict, which ordered him to pay $5 million

50 Cent has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy following a losing judgment in a sex tape lawsuit Credit: Mireya Acierto

UPDATE: 50 Cent must pay an additional $2 million to Lastonia Leviston in punitive damages in addition to the $5 million verdict handed down earlier this month, according to The Associated Press.

50 Cent has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Wall Street Journal reports that documents submitted Monday to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Hartford, Connecticut report the rapper – real name Curtis James Jackson III – as having assets and debts between $10 million and $50 million. 

Chapter 11 is often used as a method for individual debtors to restructure debts and protect finances. A press release from 50 Cent's lawyer said that the filing allowed the rapper "to reorganize his financial affairs, as he addresses various professional liabilities and takes steps to position the future of his various business interests. Mr. Jackson's business interests will continue unaffected in the ordinary course during the pendency of the chapter 11 case."

Although the statement did not explicitly mention which "professional liabilities" 50 Cent wished to address, the move follows a $5 million judgment against the rapper over the release of a 2009 sex tape. On Friday, a Manhattan jury ordered the rapper to pay Lastonia Leviston, who claimed 50 acquired a sex tape Leviston made with her boyfriend and posted it online without permission, Billboard reported. 

The invasion of privacy lawsuit stemmed from a 13-minute clip that circulated online in 2009, featuring 50 Cent – playing a narrator named Pimpin' Curly – making explicit remarks about Leviston and the rapper's rival Rick Ross, who has a daughter with Leviston. Declaring Chapter 11 causes a stay on the verdict, but it's currently unclear how long that stay is for.

"This filing for personal bankruptcy protection permits Mr. Jackson to continue his involvement with various business interests and continue his work as an entertainer, while he pursues an orderly reorganization of his financial affairs," William A. Brewer III, counsel to the rapper, said in a statement.

The rapper received the 2008 video from Leviston's then-boyfriend, who appears in the clip. 50 Cent and his attorneys said the rapper didn't post the video himself but was told from the boyfriend that Leviston wouldn't mind. 

"This was something done to me,"Leviston reportedly testified. "I didn't have a choice. I would never, ever do this to myself." Jurors will continue to deliberate this week on the possibility of further punitive damages. 

With a net worth of $155 million, 50 Cent ranked fourth on Forbes' list of Hip-Hop's Wealthiest Artists 2015. The entrepreneur earned $100 million through the 2007 sale of Vitaminwater, and other recent business ventures include SMS headphones, Frigo underwear and Effen vodka. 50's last studio album, Animal Ambition, was released in 2014; his next, Street King Immortal, is tentatively slated for September.