A photographer threatening to sue media outlets for running his photograph of Christina-Taylor Green, the little girl murdered in the rampage where Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot, is facing a massive backlash and calls for a boycott.
Jon Wolf’s actions have enraged so many people that a Facebook page has been started to boycott his business after he hired a lawyer and threatened to sue and collect big money from media outlets running a photograph of nine-year-old shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green.
RadarOnline.com has confirmed that Wolf’s attorney contacted numerous media outlets trying to collect money for the photograph after sending a legal letter. RadarOnline.com has obtained a copy of the legal letter, written by Edward C. Greenberg, a New York lawyer. The letter claims Wolf will sue within seven days and demands the media outlet preserve an extensive list of documents
The Facebook page created to boycott Wolf is growing and now has 1,142 member as of Friday morning. Much outrage is be expressed against Wolf, including one person calling him a “putz” and another writing: “If I wasn’t a Christian, I’d curse you out.”
Another person captured the prevailing anger, writing:” A little girl is lying in her grave, and this photographer is concerned with licensing, fees and copyright issues. Shame on you, Jon Wolf.”
Wolf is now quickly backpedalling. He offered an apology on his blog and said his actions had been misunderstood. He claimed: “At no time did I intend to profit personally from this tragedy.”
His earlier statement that he was donating a “portion” of the proceeds, and his lawyer’s actions contacting various media companies, however, have left a large number of people not believing that statement.
Wolf not only has the public furious at him, but Green’s family is also angry and issued a statement condemning his actions.
What’s more, a charity that Wolf said was going to get a “portion” of his earnings has now told him to keep his money – they want nothing to do with him.
The little girl was murdered in Jared Loughner’s rampage where Giffords was shot. In the aftermath, Green’s family gave a local newspaper a framed photograph of the child and eventually that photo was run by numerous national outlets to illustrate the face of the horrible tragedy.
But Wolf then attempted to cash in because he owned the copyright to the photo. He hired a lawyer, and according to the newspaper chain Gannett Company he demanded $125,000 from them.
Gannett agreed to pay a regular licensing fee but refuses to shell out the big bucks Wolf sought.
In the legal letter seen by RadarOnline.com, Wolf is cc’d by his lawyer, who writes: “You have employed our client’s image without his permission…we intend to institute suit against your company and any other appropriate defendants.” The lawyer then says the matter can be resolved without a lawsuit and gives the media company seven days to comply with an extensive list of demands. RadarOnline.com confirmed that Wolf, through his attorney, sought payment for the photograph which was used as a very small image in an article about the tragedy.
Tucson, Arizona children’s charity Tu Nidito was told by Wolf that he would donate a portion of his profits to them. Liz McCusker, the executive director of the charity, did not know Wolf was intending to sue outlets when he made his donation offer. When McCusker found out, she told him she didn’t want the money.
She said the charity “did not want to be associated with that kind of action,” according to AZcentral.com.
Green’s parents apparently signed a release form for Wolf within three days after the death of their daughter but say they didn’t understand his intentions, and they are furious at him.
“It’s not right. People are angry at him and they should be,” said John Green, the father of the murdered child.
The family released a statement saying Wolf’s action showed poor tasted, especially while they are still grieving, according to the Web report.
Wolf’s lawyer issued an angry statement to a Tucson Televison station claiming that Wolf was going to turn over ALL of the proceeds. He wrote that BIG corporations had benefited by his client’s photograph, using this strident language:
"First off, your viewers/readers ought to have been informed that such behemoth corporations such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, NY Daily News, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, The LA Times and Fox News among countless other photographers and companies have earned substantial fees and benefited mightily for themselves as a result of their illegally infringing upon Mr. Wolf's Constitutionally protected right to his registered copyright."
He also admitted that he has collected fees and said Wolf had the full support of the victim’s family – a statement that clearly is no longer true since the family issued a statement condemning him.