Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is facing one mom’s wrath over his unauthorized use of her son’s photo.
Monday afternoon, King took a break from posting his usual anti-immigrant memes and Adam Schiff jokes to put out an ad asking that campaign donors “fund our memes.”
The ad read, “Do you like funny memes? You’re a human being, so of course you do… Then please support our campaign today to keep the memes flowing and the Lefties triggered.”
White nationalist Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is asking for money “to make sure the memes keep flowing and the Lefties stay triggered.” pic.twitter.com/TW7HdTXkd0
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) January 23, 2020
The child pictured in the internet-famous photo known as “Success Kid” is Sam Griner; Sam’s mother, Laney Marie Griner, sent a cease and desist letter to King accusing the congressman of willfully infringing on her copyright and violating her son’s likeness rights by using the photo in his own fundraising efforts. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the letter, sent by Stephen D. Rothschild of King Holmes Paterno & Soriano on Griner’s behalf, states that King “falsely implied that ‘Success Kid’ is somehow associated with and supports [his] campaign,” and that the posting “misrepresented to the general public that [King was] acting on behalf of and even have some proprietary interest in ‘Success Kid’ and Sam’s image…”
Griner herself tweeted, “Neither I, my son, nor ‘Success Kid’ have any affiliation with Representative King, nor would we have ever agreed to this use.” Griner added, “I do not endorse Representative King and, like most people, I strongly disagree with his views.”
1/5 I recently learned that Iowa Representative Steve King is using my copyrighted photograph of my minor son Samuel known as “Success Kid” to raise money in a “Fund our Memes” online campaign, also implying that he has some kind of ownership in it.
— Laney Griner (@laneymg) January 27, 2020
Just so it’s clear – I have/would never give permission for use of my son’s photo to promote any agenda of this vile man or that disgusting party. https://t.co/AVdl9dxXCs
— Laney Griner (@laneymg) January 23, 2020
King made headlines this summer for stating his beliefs that there would hardly be “any population of the world left” if rape and incest had not occurred throughout history.
Per Griner’s letter, King has until 9 a.m. PST on Wednesday morning to remove the unauthorized photo from any sites associated with him or his campaign. The removal isn’t all, though. The letter also requests that King provide an accounting of all funds received in response to the “Success Kid” post, and provide proof that it is refunding those donations directly to donors and notifying them that Griner is not associated with his campaign. Griner also requests that King contact her to discuss reasonable compensation for the use of her son’s photo.
[Steve King via NBC screengrab]