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Anheuser-Busch Stole My Vanilla Ice Art, Designer Says

Anheuser-Busch Paints Crested Butte, Colorado, Blue 2:31

Anheuser-Busch’s weekend bash in a Colorado town was a real buzzkill for a New Jersey illustrator who claims the beer maker stole his artwork and idea for a promotion involving rapper Vanilla Ice and an ice cream truck.

Artist Ben Douglass took to social media to call out the brewing corporation for a promotion he said is strikingly similar to a piece he’d designed that showed the “Ice Ice Baby” rapper serving frozen treats from a truck. Vanilla Ice did, in fact, serve ice cream from a truck at Anheuser-Busch’s “Whatever USA” bash in Crested Butte, and the artist said an image on the side of the truck is suspiciously similar to the artwork he produced and which was on his website.

"Unfortunately, independent artists are having their work stolen all too often," Douglass told NBC News Tuesday, saying he was "shocked" to see his work being used at the event — adding that working with the maker of Bud Light the right way would have been "a very exciting opportunity."

The dust-up even prompted Vanilla Ice to tweet to Douglass: “Now I see it. Looking good. Big pimpin, luv your artwork". Douglass quipped that the tweet from Ice was enough: “Its [sic] cool, I don’t need compensation. A tweet from Vanilla Ice is the gift that keeps giving.” Douglass clarified to NBC News that this was just a joke, and he is speaking with a lawyer about his next steps.

NBC affiliate KUSA received a response from the brewer that said, “Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light respect the property and creativity of artists and we're looking into the situation.” The company did not immediately respond to questions from NBC News.

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— Phil Helsel