Saturday, January 25, 2014

Profiting Off The Death Of A Teenager

The Associated Press is demanding that George Zimmerman, who killed an unarmed black teenager in 2012, halt the sale of a painting it says he copied from one of its photos.

George Zimmerman is seeking buyers for his portrait of a Florida prosecutor that many believe is copied directly from a photograph shot by the Associated Press.  Last December, Zimmerman sold a painting on eBay for $100,000.  There have been accusations that Zimmerman's recent foray into "art" is nothing more than a scam to enable supporters to secretly funnel money to him without the complications involved by making direct donations.

The painting, advertised on Twitter by Zimmerman's brother Robert, depicts Florida prosecutor Angela Corey holding her fingers together, with an apparently fictitious quote reading, "I have this much respect for the American judicial system."  Many graphic software packages have "posterizing" features which-- when applied against a scanned photograph-- will produce a graphical image that looks very much like that purported to be the original work of Zimmerman.

The news agency sent a letter to Zimmerman's former lawyer, Jayne Weintraub, calling for the sale of the painting to be halted, or for damages to be paid in the event of a sale.  Zimmerman responded to the Associated Press, tweeting, "No worries AP, I'll just take whatever U sue me for off your tab when I'm done suing you :-) "

In November, Zimmerman was arrested after reportedly pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend. Prosecutors later declined to file domestic violence charges against him in the incident after the girlfriend refused to cooperate.  He was also briefly detained following a domestic disturbance at the home of his estranged wife, Shellie, in September.

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