It seems like the King family is suing everybody – or at least threatening all kinds of folks with potential legal action. Last week, Georgia’s governor was also put on notice. A Georgia bill calls for a monument to Dr. King to be erected on the grounds of the Georgia Capitol.
Gov. Nathan Deal told a congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in January that he would work with the legislature to secure a place at the Capitol for a memorial. But Eric Tidwell, who represents the King family, sent a letter to the governor’s office saying the estate owns all rights to Dr. King’s “name, image, likeness, words, rights of publicity, copyrighted works, recorded voice and trademark interests.”
When the media reported that the governor referenced this initiative in remarks he made on the King holiday, we expected to hear from your office and the appropriate parties seeking the estate’s input and approval,” Tidwell wrote. The latest dispute between the King family comes months after Martin III and Dexter decided to sue Andrew Young, the former U.S. Ambassador and close personal friend to King.
At issue is a lawsuit initiated by King’s sons. The legal argument focuses on who has the rights to King’s words and image. King’s sons are apparently angry at Young over footage of King that appears in a production by Young’s foundation.
Another of King’s friends — actor Harry Belafonte – is also embroiled in a legal dispute with King’s children over ownership of some King documents. I have no idea how this feud ultimately gets resolved, I only know that a King family once regarded as proud upstanding citizens, has now been reduced to punch lines and pity.