President Donald Trump is being sued by the parents of two toddlers who appeared in a viral doctored video he shared on Twitter in June. The parents are also suing the person who created the meme, Logan Cook, according to a lawsuit that was filed on Thursday (Sept. 17) with the New York Supreme Court.
The parents, Michael Cisneros, Alex Hanson, Erica McKenna and Daniel McKenna, are accusing Cook of manipulating a video of their children, that went viral in 2019, without written consent. They also claim Trump is using the video to seek donations for his re-election campaign.
A video of two toddlers running to give each other a big hug has gotten a lot of love. The boys, 26-month-old Maxwell and 27-month-old Finnegan, have known each other for more than a year. https://t.co/XSqXixl2CJ pic.twitter.com/DdwJmthn1C— CNN International (@cnni) September 12, 2019
The original video features two boys — one black and one white — running towards each other in excitement. The boys, named Maxwell and Finnegan, have been friends for more than a year after the families bonded at a restaurant.
The doctored video they are suing Trump over shows the Black child running from the white child, which included a faked CNN graphic that implied the Black child was running from a “racist baby” who was “probably a Trump voter.” The video then switches to say “What actually happened” and shows the real video of Maxwell and Finnegan that went viral last year.
“America is not the problem. Fake News is,” the video reads. “If you see something, say something. Only you can prevent fake news dumpster fires.”
According to the court docs, the parents allege that Trump used the endearing moment between their kids to “exploit the children’s images for his own purposes and gain” and push “his brand of sensationalism in complete disregard for the truth.”
The video was eventually removed from Twitter and Facebook for copyright violations. However, before it was removed from Twitter it had already been viewed over 20 million times. They say the meme has caused them great distress and humiliation and are seeking unspecified damages, according to TMZ.
Cook has since been permanently banned from Twitter.