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The artist who gave the world a drawing of a nude Donald Trump with a small penis is facing a potential lawsuit from Trump’s legal team if the painting sells. Illma Gore, whose pencil work is now on view at Maddox Gallery in the UK, received the legal threat three days ago from someone claiming to be from Trump’s camp. She believes it is legitimate as the same caller had reached out to her last month with another legal threat, after she posted the drawing to her Facebook and had endless difficulty accessing her account.
The anonymous caller is suing Gore under claims to right of publicity, which gives individuals the right to control how his or her name, image, or likeness is used commercially. Under that law, Trump is entitled to a lump sum of what the painting would earn. It is currently priced at over 1.4 million USD, according to the Guardian. Gore remains unworried and is prepared to fight the case in court if it arrives.
“It’s artwork,” she told Hyperallergic. “I think the lawyers who are preparing the case are all confident because it’s a unique idea, it’s standing alone, it’s not just his face. So we’re all really confident that there won’t be any repercussions.”
Gore has already received a few offers for the drawing, titled “Make America Great Again,” facilitated through Maddox Gallery. The gallery had reached out to her to exhibit the work, which went on display on April 11 and has since drawn hundreds of visitors who have waited in line to see it. While a tattoo parlor in, naturally, Florida is offering to ink the image onto anyone’s body, many galleries in the US had refused to show the work for security reasons: Gore has received over a thousand death threats from strangers through Facebook and through email.
“It’s sad to me that in a country where the First Amendment grants freedom of speech — which I love — I can’t show it here,” Gore said. “I just feel in the UK they’re a little more far removed from Trump so instead of having an immediate reaction to just his face they can actually see what I meant by it and the idea, and they’re able to appreciate it. But it’s still sad.”
Despite the threat, she still intends to sell the work and plans to donate a portion of the profits to the homeless youth charity Safe Place for Youth.
Meanwhile, she is still struggling to properly log into and navigate her Facebook profile. In addition to the restricted access as well as notifications telling her the website is logging all her activities, someone identified only as a third party has also reported copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Gore is certain that this claim, too, arrives from Trump’s legal team.
Hyperallergic has reached out to Facebook but has not received a response.