The parents of two toddlers featured in a manipulated video posted on social media by President Donald Trump plan to file a lawsuit against the president, his campaign and the creator of the video, pro-Trump meme creator Carpe Donktum, escalating the fallout from the doctored video, which was taken down by Facebook and Twitter.
U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a meeting Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Oval ... [+] Office of the White House on June 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Duda, who faces a tight re-election contest in four days, is Trump's first world leader visit from overseas since the coronavirus pandemic began.Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images
Lawyers representing the parents of the children featured in the video are drafting a lawsuit alleging the video was altered and shared as an “advertisement and political propaganda” without permission or parental consent.
Logan Cook, who goes by the username Carpe Donktum, altered footage of the two children in which one, who is Black, is running away from the other, who is white, and added a fake CNN chyron reading “Terrified toddler runs away from racist baby.”
The original clip, which went viral last year, actually shows the two toddlers running up to each other and hugging. (The edited video appears to be a satirical attempt criticize how the media takes statements out of context and reports on race.)
Both Facebook and Twitter took the video down after the parents of the children filed a copyright complaint, and before that Twitter labeled the video “manipulated media.”
Twitter late Tuesday permanently banned Cook for repeated copyright violations.
Neither Cook nor the Trump campaign immediately responded to requests for comment from Forbes.
“The fact that Twitter and Facebook disabled this fake video within 24 hours of President Trump and his campaign tweeting it, coupled with Twitter permanently banning Cook, is very strong evidence that a jury will likely find that all of these people broke the law by using this video as advertisement and political propaganda,” said Ven Johnson, one of the attorneys representing the parents.
Cook’s work is frequently shared by Trump, and the president reportedly called him a “genius” when he visited the White House last year. Twitter previously suspended Cook for eight days after he posted an edited video showing Trump as a cowboy attacking CNN reporter Jim Acosta.
Facebook and Twitter usually leave controversial posts from world leaders online, though Twitter has taken to labeling tweets with misinformation or those that “glorify violence” in recent weeks. But there’s one rule even world leaders can’t break: copyright. In October last year, another video posted by Trump featuring a Nickelback song was taken down after a copyright notice was filed. And earlier that year Twitter took down another video that included music from the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises without permission.