Family Sues Cox Media for Using Photo of Their Son for “Retarded News” Segment
Nashville couple Bernard and Pamela Holland didn’t even take the photograph. It’s a nine year-old image of their son Adam as a teenager, smiling broadly as he holds up a drawing he made in art class. It’s a photo that’s now generated an $18 million lawsuit.
The Hollands filed the suit against Cox Media, claiming “invasion of privacy, misappropriation of likeness, defamation and emotional distress” after the image of Adam, who was born with Down Syndrome, began appearing as a punchline on various Web sites. Most notably, Cox’s Florida radio station WHPT-FM’s Cowhead Show reportedly altered the photo of Adam to make it appear he was holding a sign touting its “Retarded News.”
The station’s director has apologized, sort of, by issuing an email that says, “The segment ‘Retarded News’ is designed to highlight odd stories that are seemingly always in the news. Stories such as botched bank robberies and failed crimes. These stories are NOT about disabled individuals.” I guess if you’re using the image of someone with Down Syndrome on your “Retarded News,” but not actually talking about people with Down Syndrome, he thinks it’s somehow okay.
Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon: Stop mocking Adam Holland.
Image: A nine-year-old photo of Adam Holland, via Salon