The mother of the boy in the “Success Kid” viral meme reportedly sent a letter to Rep. Steve King (R-IA), demanding that he stop using the copyrighted image of her son on any campaign materials or websites. According to The New York Times, Laney Griner sent a cease-and-desist letter to King though her lawyers on Monday after she was notified that a picture of her son, Sam, was used in a Facebook ad to raise money for King. The ad, placed by the King for Congress page last week, used the image of the 11-month-old alongside the words: “Fund our memes!!!” The post, which has since been deleted, directed users to a fundraising page for King run by the political action committee WinRed.
In the letter, Griner’s lawyers said King’s use of the image “harmed and continues to harm (the) well-earned good will” that the meme created on the internet, due to the representative’s “record of vitriolic criticism.” The lawyers demanded the image’s removal, a public apology, and a refund of all the money raised through the post—and said they would sue for copyright infringement if the demands are not met. Griner previously gave the Obama administration permission to use her son’s image, but said “Steve King is just the worst of the worst.” A spokesman for King and WinRed have not spoken publicly on the matter.