Dear Editor – Campaign Lit Uses “Green 5” Without Permission

Dear Editor,

 I did a double take this evening when I saw a photo of my son on a political flyer. The photo was from an event I was speaking at about the US Green Ribbon Award winning “Green 5” Sustainability Program, which I led for several years for the Culver City Unified School District. I have intentionally stayed out of the political fray that has been dividing our precious community, but this brazen act is personal and necessitates my response. This is just wrong.

I do not endorse the candidates on the flyer, and permission was not granted to use this photo. The usurping of an image that encapsulated my work for political purposes is unethical and misleading, and probably illegal. This is a Hack job. I feel like we’ve all been slimed by the Hackman / Culver Studios PAC.

The unprecedented amount of money being funneled through this PAC is warping and corrupting our local democracy. It’s fueling misinformation and pitting neighbors against neighbors. Our elections should not be determined by deceitful businesses with deep pockets. This is greed in action, pure and simple. Lesson learned: PAC funding in Culver City needs to be capped so there is an even playing field among candidates. Let’s work together to ensure dark money does not enter future Culver City elections.

From the “Green 5” — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Ride & Rethink — to the Six Pillars of Character –Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship – we can and must do better! Our kids are counting on us.

Shea Cunningham, Culver City Resident and Business Owner

The Actors' Gang


  1. Melissa: Several entities did not do their due diligence. Hackman and cronies are in legal hot water. Per Alamy: You can only use this image in editorial media and for personal use. Editorial media includes use as a visual reference to support your article, story, critique or educational text. It shouldn’t be used for commercial use which includes advertising, marketing, promotion, packaging, advertorials, and consumer or merchandising products…If you fail to secure releases before using the image, you might get into difficulty with an owner/agent or estate and you or your company will be liable for any claims. This is part of the agreement you make when you buy images from Alamy…It’s your responsibility to make sure you have all the right releases to use the image for your project.

  2. Whether they properly licensed the photo from the copyright holder has nothing to do with whether it’s ethical to use a picture of children in a political ad without the permission of the children or their parents.

    Despite what others have suggested, no, I don’t think you owe an apology for getting upset here.

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