A Nashville family is suing Cox Media and Flickr for using offensive altered images of their son, Adam Holland, who has Down syndrome, without permission.
One image includes Holland holding a sign with altered text that reads “Retarded News,” a segment on controversial show The Cowhead, about weird news.
Michael Calta, the creator of The Cowhead Show, inspired Tampa Bay Lightning fans to resort to death threats after a Boston billboard claimed that Tampa Bay Lightning fans did not exist. Bubba the Love Sponge was also acquired by Cox Media after its cancellation on Clear Channel Communications. The show was ditched for airing noises of the host supposedly slaughtering and barbequing a wild Florida boar.
Websites like Sign Generator, which showed Holland holding a sign that said “Retarded Handicap Generator”, and photo-sharing site Flickr have also taken advantage of the image. The Hollands were shocked by one caption of the photo that read: “Just a stupid photo of the sick retarded kid that lives down my street that my dogs hate."
The Hollands stated that the images caused “severe mental anguish and emotional distress with manifestations that impact their daily lives and routines, humiliation, embarrassment, fear, and other non-economic damages”.
It is unclear where the photo, taken in 2004, was originally obtained.