It’s a sad commentary that the children of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the King Estate continue to tarnish his name with petty squabbles and money-grubbing. The latest dust-up is over Gov. Nathan Deal and Georgia legislators seeking to honor Dr. King on Capitol grounds. The family of Dr. King have sent notice to Gov. Deal saying they want approval rights over any image of their father being used at the state Capitol.
On Monday, the same day the a bill was passed to honor Dr. King on state Capitol grounds, Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., the company that oversees the King estate, sent a letter to Chris Riley, Gov. Deal’s chief of staff, to remind him that the King estate owns all rights to the civil rights leader’s “name, image, likeness, words, rights of publicity, copyrighted works, recorded voice and trademark interests.” The letter also chided Gov. Deal for not reaching out to the family for permission:
“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. To date, we have not received any formal request for permission to utilize any of Dr. King’s [intellectual property]. Nonetheless, we would be delibhted to work with you on determining an appropriate way to honor Dr. King….Your assistance would be greatly appreciated in expediting our review of the proposal to honor Dr. King and thus provide input.”
Chris Riley responded via e-mail to IPM’s letter:
We will continue to monitor the legislation. Please do not assume the governor would ever try to financially capitalize on the legacy of Dr. King. He is simply…trying to honor a great Georgian.”
The mention of money didn’t sit too well with Mr. Tidwell, who responded right away:
“The notion of monetizing Dr. King’s image on the part of the Governor never crossed our mind….This has to do with respecting property rights by including the rights holder in the process to determine how Dr. King will be honored….We look forward to working with you and having the opportunity to review the proposed legislation.”
I am so sick and tired of hearing about Martin Luther King III, Bernice King and Dexter King. They continue to do a great disservice to the legacy of their father. They seem to be motivated by avarice than by his selflessness and giving his life to a cause he held true. This comes as Bernice King, who was sued by her brothers, agreed to turn over their father’s Nobel Peace prize and family Bible to a court for safe-keeping, pending the outcome of a civil suit to sell the items. It’s a sad commentary that nothing is sacred to Martin Luther King III and his brother. They are willing to sell their father’s prized possessions to the highest bidders. Personally, I would not donate one penny to anything they have a hand in because it’s all about money for them.
Read more from Jim Galloway.