Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the gun-toting St. Louis couple who gained recognition after confronting protesters passing by their home, sued a United Press International photographer and the wire service, alleging a photo that has risen to international prominence was taken on their property, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The McCloskeys accuse UPI photographer Bill Greenblatt of trespassing to capture one of the most iconic images of the confrontation between the McCloskeys and protesters on their way to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house. The couple, known for being litigious before the June 28 encounter, said Greenblatt’s photo has contributed to their “significant national recognition and infamy.” The McCloskeys also sued Redbubble Inc., a San Francisco-based online marketplace for print-on-demand products. Their image has proliferated across the world, the McCloskeys allege, with Redbubble, Greenblatt and UPI profiting from “t-shirts, masks, and other items” depicting them.
Their image on merchandise sold by Redbubble is accompanied with “mocking and pejorative taglines or captions,” causing them “humiliation, mental anguish, and severe emotional distress,” the suit alleges. They have received death threats, and additional protesters have come to their property, the McCloskeys say. “Defendants acted outrageously and beyond all reasonable bounds of decency, with their conduct regarded as atrocious and intolerable by any member of a civilized society,” they wrote. UPI said it was considering whether to send a “cease and desist” order to the couple because of their use of the UPI photo as part of a personal greeting card. Newspaper photographers are allowed to capture images from public rights of way. The McCloskeys live on a private street and argued that protesters were trespassing.