President Trump, Trump Campaign, Pro-Trump Meme Creator Sued for Toddlers’ Civil Rights Violation
NEW YORK – Today, two sets of parents have filed a lawsuit against Logan Cook, Donald J. Trump, and Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for, among other things, violation of New York Civil Rights Laws 50 and 51.
In September 2019, Cook falsely, maliciously and without parental consent, manipulated a video of two New York City toddlers running to hug each other to portray it as a CNN breaking news story with the false headline, “Terrified Toddler Runs From Racist Baby” and thereafter, “Racist Baby Probably A Trump Voter.” One of the boys is white and the other is Black. The video was created for the purposes of crass commercial exploitation for Cook’s economic benefit as well as that of Donald Trump and his re-election campaign.
On June 18, 2020, the evening before Juneteeth, the oldest, nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, President Trump, via his personal Twitter handle, @therealdonaldtrump, re-posted Cook’s manipulated video of the young children for purpose of advertising himself and his “brand” to advance his economic, political and business goals. His campaign, via its Twitter handle, @TeamTrump, then retweeted the President’s post. Over 21 million views of the video ensued.
Twitter and Facebook removed the video on June 19, and Twitter permanently suspended Cook from the platform on June 23 for multiple infractions.
Attorney Ven Johnson of Michigan-based Ven Johnson Law, PLC and New York-based attorney, Christopher H. Fitzgerald, of The Law Offices of Christopher H. Fitzgerald, are representing parents Michael Cisneros and Alex Hanson. Michael Maggiano and Michael Lizzi of New York and New Jersey-based Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C. are representing parents Daniel and Erica McKenna.
“It is readily apparent that not only did the defendants publish the video knowing of its falsity and with reckless disregard of the true nature of the original video, they blatantly violated these young boys’ civil rights,” said Ven Johnson. “These boys should not be at the center of divisive political propaganda.”
New York Civil Rights Law 50-51 states a person, firm or corporation that uses the name, portrait or picture of any living person for advertising purposes, or for the purposes of trade, without having first obtained the written consent, or if a minor, of his parent or guardian, is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be held civilly liable in an equitable action in the Supreme Court of New York. A jury, in its discretion, may award damages.
About Ven Johnson Law, PLC
Ven Johnson Law, PLC, founded by Ven Johnson in 2011, has worked on some of the most notable personal injury cases in America, winning more than $200 million in jury verdicts and settlements totaling more than $400 Million. The firm’s practice areas include civil rights, police misconduct, premises liability, product liability and many more. Ven Johnson and his team have been recognized by legal organizations and publications across the country, including being named to the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report 2017-2020. For more information, visit www.venjohnsonlaw.com.
About The Law Offices of Christopher H. Fitzgerald
Since 2009, Christopher H. Fitzgerald has represented hundreds of clients in civil rights and personal injury cases, taking 24 cases to jury trial against the NYPD and big insurance companies. The firm was started with the goal of meeting the specific needs of each individual client, marked by thorough preparation for every case. For more information, visit http://chflegal.com.
About Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C.
The New York City law office of Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi has a history of representing people who have sustained injury caused by Civil Rights violations. We are a full-service firm with attorneys that focus on the New York City area. For more information, visit https://www.maggianolaw.com/.