Last year, a black female fireman filed a lawsuit against a Florida community for portraying her as a white woman in a mural.
According to CNN, Latosha Clemons, the city of Boynton Beach’s first Black female fireman, is seeking $100,000 in the lawsuit, which was filed in April. She said that seeing the image caused her mental suffering as well as scorn and shame. The painting created to recognize her and others for their service to the city “reflected her as a White member of the municipal fire department,” according to the complaint.
The litigation is being launched on behalf of Clemons “to remedy the defamatory statement [the City of Boynton Beach] made regarding her race and/or its carelessness in failing to properly monitor an approved use of her likeness,” according to a second amended complaint filed last month.
The City Art Commission allegedly approved the painting in November 2019, which included an image that Clemons had given permission to use. “When the painting was revealed on June 3, 2020, it did not depict Clemons as a Black member of the municipal fire department. Instead, it was changed to depict her as a white city firefighter,” according to the complaint.
“Being represented as white was not only a misleading portrayal of Clemons, but it was also a portrayal that grossly insulted all that [she] had accomplished as the city’s first female Black firefighter,” the suit continued.
Not only was Clemons depicted as white in the photograph, but it also depicted former Boynton Fire Chief Glenn Joseph, who is Black, as white. The mural was removed the day after it was displayed due to reaction, and the city manager of Boynton Beach fired Debby Coles-Dobay, the city’s public arts manager.
Coles-Dobay, on the other hand, said that the city and the Fire Chief’s Office pushed her to draw the mural that way. On Nov. 30, city officials and Clemons will meet with a mediator.
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