The St. Louis couple who shot to infamy after they were photographed ready to defend their home against trespassing protestors in June are accusing a news photographer of trespassing to capture the iconic photo of the incident.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are personal injury lawyers in their 60s, filed a lawsuit against Bill Greenblatt, a photographer at United Press International, and UPI over a photo he took of the encounter, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The lawsuit states that the photo, which shows Mr. McCloskey in a pink polo shirt and khaki slacks with his AR-15 rifle, with Mrs. McCloskey at his side, holding a semi-automatic handgun, contributed to the couple's "significant national recognition and infamy."
The lawsuit alleges the defendants are profiting from "T-shirts, masks, and other items, and licensing use of photographs bearing Plaintiffs' likenesses, without obtaining Plaintiffs' consent."
Red Bubble, an online print shop, is named in the lawsuit for selling merchandise with the McCloskeys' image accompanied by "mocking or pejorative taglines or captions." This merchandise has caused the McCloskeys' to suffer "humiliation, mental anguish, and severe emotional distress."
"Defendants acted outrageously and beyond all reasonable bounds of decency, with their conduct regarded as atrocious and intolerable by any member of a civilized society," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleges that the photo has led to the couple receiving death threats and additional protestors showing up to their property.
UPI said it was considering sending the McCloskeys a cease and desist order, because the couple has been using the photo for a greeting card.
News photographers are allowed to capture images from public rights of way.
The McCloskeys said the protestors were trespassing on their private street during the incident.
Thier determination to defend themselves and their property led to the couple speaking at the Republican National Convention in August. They said in their speech the Republican Party is the party of law and order, gun rights, and property rights.
The McCloskeys are further asking the court to ban the use of the photo and to transfer ownership of it and any others captured on their property to them.