Tennessee Church Deacon Sues Kensington Publishing for Using His Picture as “Earl the Black Pimp” on Book Cover

Street Players

A New York publishing company used a photo of a Tennessee church deacon without his permission, depicting him as “Earl the Black Pimp” on a book cover, he claims in court.

Charles Christian sued Kensington Publishing Corp. in federal court for violation of right to be free of publicity, false light, and invasion of privacy.

Christian, a black entrepreneur and Nashville church deacon, took part in a private photography session as a gift to his wife in April 2013, the complaint says.

He was then told by friends and family that his picture was on the cover of Donald Goines’ book “Street Players.” The book was available for purchase at a grocery store in Mount Juliet, Tenn. and a Barnes & Noble location in Hendersonville, Tenn.

“Mr. Goines’ books revolve around and focus on graphic, explicit, and pornographic aspects of prison, crime, prostitution and illegal drugs,” the complaint states. “‘Street Players’ is about a pimp named ‘Earl the Black Pimp’ who is trapped in a lifestyle of drugs, violence, and prostitution.”

The book was first published in 1973 but Kensington released a new edition in July, featuring Christian on the cover “as the violent pimp character,” the complaint says.

Christian says Kensington used his likeness and image “in a defamatory and pornographic manner” and shared marketing materials using his image “without his consent in various media in Tennessee and throughout the world,” the complaint states.

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SOURCE: Courthouse News Service
Kevin Lessmiller

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