This is the story of how an innocent Facebook post could possibly lead to a guilty verdict …
Dancing With The Stars‘ Val Chmerkovskiy now faces a $6-million lawsuit for posting a meme that had already gone viral. This poses many questions, so allow me to set the stage for you:
Other media outlets have posted the picture – legally. Out of respect to the girl in question, I have chosen not to post the picture, so I’ll describe it to you.
The picture shows an overweight child with a large drink in hand, superimposed with the caption by its photographer, “Letting your kid become obese should be considered child abuse.” The photo, taken in 2008, went viral in 2014. Then, three weeks ago, Chmerkovskiy reposted the image to his social media accounts, and it went viral – again. Skylar Eden, the girl in the picture, is 16 now and was just 10 or 11 years old when the photo was taken.
The lawsuit explains Skylar has weight issues – due to Down syndrome – and alleges defamation, emotional distress and invasion of privacy. Skylar and her family want $6-million from the famous dancer and $6-million from CBS for also posting the picture. They seek $600 thousand from the photog, as well.
Originally, Chmerkovskiy didn’t know Skylar had Down syndrome, and said he posted the photo to start the conversation about childhood obesity. But in talking about childhood obesity, do you feel the child’s weight speaks more to the parents than the kid?
And while many questions arise from this story, there’s one question I have yet to hear: What about all of the media outlets re-posting the photo to share the news story? The media are the messengers, so legally they can post the picture, but do you think it’s ethically okay for them to share this picture – over and over – that the girl says causes her such distress?