The parents of the toddlers featured in the doctored “racist baby” video have sued President Trump and the creator behind the meme.
Michael Cisneros, Alex Hanson, and Erica and Daniel McKenna filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Trump and Logan Cook, accused of creating the doctored video without their written consent.
Trump shared the manipulated video in June that involved a “racist baby” and condemnation of “fake news,” McClatchy News reported.
The video shows a Black toddler being chased by a white child, made to look like the footage was produced by CNN, with a banner that reads, “Terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby.” The video text then says: “Racist baby probably a Trump voter.”
The video changes to show the original viral video of the two toddlers running to each other and hugging.
Twitter labeled the tweet as “manipulated media.” The platform says it labels tweets that “have been deceptively altered or fabricated.”
CNN first reported on the viral video in September 2019. It was posted to Facebook by one of the toddlers’ dads and features then-26-month-old Maxwell and 27-month-old Finnegan, “who have been friends for at least a year,” according to CNN.
“The reason that it’s getting attention [is] because it is with a little black boy and a little white boy...But if it can change someone’s mind, you know, or just change their view on things, then it’s totally worth it,” Cisneros told the publication.
The parents of the two boys accuse Cook of manipulating the video without their consent and using “a portion of it out of context, sending out an extremely distorted and false message,” according to the lawsuit.
They also accuse Trump of using Cook’s memes to seek donations for his reelection campaign and using their children’s likeness and pictures without their consent.
Trump hasn’t responded to the lawsuit as of Friday afternoon.
The video resurfaced during the protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 after a now-arrested police officer kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes.
“Seeing that Donald Trump had shared a manipulated version of my video on Twitter — I had a flood of emotions,” Cisneros wrote in a Newsweek article on July 2. “I was shocked and I was appalled. I couldn’t believe that the President of the United States would tweet out a video that is sharing a message of hate in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests. Something that could cause more division and ignite his base.”
According to the lawsuit, the boys’ parents said the video was the “epitome of love and unity” showing their toddlers “hugging and enjoying the warmth and companionship” of friendship.