Tasty Food, Maybe, but Really Bad Taste

     HOUSTON (CN) – Kids’ Meals, a nonprofit, humiliated a black family by using without permission a photo of their three children in a fund-raising ad under the caption “What Took You So Long? I Have Been Hungry For a Long Time,” the family claims in court.
     Linda Reeves sued Kids’ Meals in Harris County Court, on her own behalf and for her three children, 7-year-old twins, and a 9-year-old boy.
     “This case arises from Kids’ Meals unauthorized and exploitative use of minor children, Robert Reeves, Brice Reeves and Brittany Reeves’ images in an advertising campaign launched on or about March 2012 to solicit donations for its nonprofit organization,” the complaint states.
     “The campaign, titled, ‘What Took You So Long?’ features a photograph of the minors, accompanied by a disparaging slogan that extends upon the underlying image – e.g. the caption ‘I have been hungry for a long time.’ …
     “Linda Reeves recently discovered that Kids’ Meals had been using this image of her children to promote their fundraising efforts in Houston magazine. The original photograph was taken by a member of defendant’s staff, but at no time did they have authorization to use said photograph in this manner.
     “Linda Reeves was first alerted to its use by a family friend, who called her and inquired as to why the minor children were being depicted as ‘hungry.’ Prior to this phone call, Linda Reeves had never seen the advertisement nor approved of its usage in this manner.
     “In a short time after the discovery of this advertisement, the minor, Robert Reeves was able to read the advertisement and has been the object of bullying, ridicule and extreme embarrassment. He now faces humiliation and embarrassment daily. Brice and Brittany Reeves are also aware of their photos under such a demeaning title and are facing ridicule as well. Linda Reeves, upon discovering the photograph was embarrassed, outraged, physically ill and emotionally distraught to the point receiving medical treatment.”
     The kids’ mom adds: “Kids’ Meals enhanced their fundraising campaign because two of the minors are twins and all are African American – to appeal to the demographics of Houston magazine’s readers.”
     She seeks damages for invasion of privacy and defamation.
     She is represented by Houston attorney Dagnee “Dee” McKinney.
     Kids’ Meals states on its website that its mission is to end hunger for needy Houston children by delivering free, nutritious meals to their homes.

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