In a case filed in New York County Court, a former Topps employee has sued the company over use of his likeness in a John Henry trading card (2011 Triple Threads).
Christopher Holmes, a former brand manager for Topps who was with the company for 17 years, is seeking $1 million in punitive damages for “public ridicule, degradation, humiliation, emotional distress, economic damages, and other injuries.”
According to the Courthouse News Service, Holmes was asked to pose for a trading card promotion, as he had done in the past. However, according to court records, Holmes asked what the use was for, to see a sample of the promotional card and give final approval. He claims this was not done, and he was later fired in August 2011 before the card was produced. Holmes said the John Henry relic card released in September 2011 in the Triple Threads release is him.Henry is depicted in overalls carrying a sledgehammer.
“Topps knew, or should have known, that plaintiff did not and would not consent to the use of his likeness, image, portrait, and/or picture to depict him as a former slave,” the complaint said.