Pro angler Jason Quinn sues Bernie Sanders over campaign video.
In one of the more unusual news headlines this week, pro bass angler Jason Quinn has sued Bernie Sanders claiming the Democratic Presidential candidate used Quinn's image without permission for a campaign video.
The Herald reports the lawsuit was filed February 29 in South Carolina's York County Civil Court. The heart of the matter is a video made by the Sanders campaign in 2018 about President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico. Quinn claims he appears in the video and that he never gave permission for the use of his likeness.
The video, which is titled "5 Reasons the Border Wall Won't Stop Drugs," is still online and can be viewed below. The part in question happens around the 1:47 mark. This part of the video refers to drugs being smuggled into the United States via high speed boats. It cuts to an image of Quinn in his sponsor-wrapped bass boat racing across a lake.
According to the Herald, Quinn's lawyers (Zach Merritt, Michael Brown Jr and Eve Schafer Goodstein) are arguing that Quinn does not support Sanders, did not give permission to use the video, and has been harmed by the video's portrayal. They allege the video has damaged Quinn's reputation by comparing him to criminals.
"Defendants did not obtain consent or seek to receive Quinn's permission to use his likeness or identity," the lawsuit said. "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 with criminal activities and specifically, that he in any way associated with the trafficking of illegal drugs."
The lawsuit is asking for an unnamed amount of punitive and actual damages as well as restraining orders prohibiting the Sanders campaign from using Quinn's identity. Merritt elaborated more on Quinn's issues with the video, emhasizing the fact that the former Bassmaster tournament pro is not a Sanders supporter.
"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. "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 contradictory to who Mr. Quinn is as a person."
While the video only has around 7,000 views on YouTube, the lawsuit claims it racked up millions of views on Facebook, where it was shared eight times between 2018 and 2019. It doesn't appear the Sanders campaign has commented on the lawsuit.
Quinn fished the Bassmaster Tournament Trail from 1995 to 2016 where he made six appearances in the Bassmaster Classic and had one tournament win. He has also appeared on the FLW and MLF tours.
We will keep an eye on this story as it develops and bring you more here at Wide Open Spaces.