A South Carolina resident has filed a lawsuit against Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his campaign. The lawsuit accuses them of using an online video image without permission.
The video is about how a southern border wall won’t stop illegal drugs, court records show.
The lawsuit claims that Jason Quinn does not support Sanders, did not give permission to use the video, and has been harmed by the video’s portrayal of Quinn in reference to the trafficking of illegal drugs.
Quinn was a professional bass fisherman for more than 20 years who used an Evan Williams Bourbon boat as part of a sponsorship deal, the lawsuit states.
Sanders, and his campaign, used images of Quinn and the boat in a campaign video called, “5 Reasons the Border Wall Won’t stop Drugs,” the lawsuit states.
The video explains that drug smugglers travel by sea, then shows images of Quinn in the boat, according to the lawsuit.
Quinn stated in the lawsuit that Sanders and the campaign invaded his privacy, defamed him, and Sanders and his campaign were grossly negligent and reckless in using the video. The video has had millions of hits on Facebook, You Tube and other sites, the lawsuit states.
Sanders is a Senator from Vermont who is running for president. He came in second in Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, and is the leader so far in pledged delegates after wins in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit was filed Saturday in York County civil court.
“Defendants did not obtain consent or seek to receive Quinn’s permission to use his likeness or identity,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff brings this action in order to vindicate an egregious, intentional false association created by the video whereby defendants suggested plaintiff is in any way associated in criminal activities, and specifically, that he is in any way associated with the trafficking of illegal drugs.”
Quinn has associated himself with conservative causes and Republican candidates, according to the lawsuit. The civil suit seeks to “vindicate the intentional false association created by defendants suggesting Quinn supports defendant Sanders, an association that directly conflicts with Quinn’s political and social values,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states the video was posted to the Sanders’ Facebook page at least eight times in 2018 and 2019.
The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order, then a permanent order, prohibiting Sanders and the campaign from using Quinn’s identity. The suit also asks for actual and punitive damages.
The lawsuit was filed by Rock Hill lawyers Zach Merritt of the law offices of Michael Brown Jr., and Eve Schafer Goodstein of the McGowan, Hood and Felder firm.
“This outrageous video created by Mr. Sanders and his campaign, which has been seen by millions of people, portrays Mr. Quinn -- in an extraordinarily public and harmful manner -- as a criminal and a drug smuggler,” Merritt said Monday. “Mr. Quinn is a lifelong Republican who opposes the policies of Mr. Sanders. He is appalled that Mr. Sanders’ team would engage in the unauthorized use of his likeness and image to further Mr. Sanders’ campaign and his positions. This portrayal is completely contrary to who Mr. Quinn is as a person.”
The communications director for the Sanders campaign in South Carolina was unaware of the lawsuit and referred all questions to the Sanders national campaign team. Efforts to seek comment from the national campaign have so far been unsuccessful.
Check back for updates on this developing story.