Attorneys for former President Donald Trump sent a cease-and-desist letter Sept. 30 to the Apple social media app 2nd1st for using his likeness, image, and fictional use of its system to gain new subscribers.
According to a New York Post report, the app used the former president to try to entice people to pay about $5 per week to use the ”free speech” social network application.
The letter said the application, developed by a company identified as Howly Inc., of Wichita, Kansas, was using Trump’s name, image and likeness ”in violation of numerous state and federal laws governing misappropriation and right of publicity.”
”Specifically, it appears the 2nd1st application profile includes images implying President Donald J. Trump uses or otherwise endorses the application, which he does not,” attorney Nathan D. Growth said in the letter.
”2nd1st’s unauthorized use of President Donald J. Trump’s name, image, and likeness is likely to lead individuals to believe that President Trump has authorized, sponsored, or approved such application which he does not,” the letter continued.
A webpage for the app calls it ”unbiased social media” and has no mention or image of the former president.
A Buzzfile listing of the business shows its Kansas address and says its CEO is Shyam Sawant.
In the listing, the company says it has been in business for two years and has just one employee.
It is also listed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at the Wichita address and reports having applied for a trademark on Jan. 19.
According to the Post story, Trump’s attorneys sent the letter after the newspaper notified them that the app was using him, claiming he had an account on the site along with popular conservative figures such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Meghan McCain, former co-host of ”The View.”
Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington told the Post that the former president does not use the platform and that a profile page was fraudulent.
Since being permanently banned from the Twitter platform on Jan. 8 for ”inciting violence” two days after the riot at the U.S. Capitol in which five people died, several upstart social media platforms have been trying to woo him into their respective folds.
New apps such as Parler, as well as Gettr, run by Trump ally Jason Miller, have encouraged him to join their platforms and bring his massive online following along, the Post reported.