A Carthage, TX, woman has sued National Geographic and Fox Networks after the NatGeo cable channel used images of the couple's children in a 2009 documentary, according to the woman's attorney.
Donnice Roberts, the wife of Army Sgt. Kevin Roberts, filed the suit in federal court in Tyler, TX, for the unauthorized use of images in Inside Afghan ER. The suit seeks unspecified damages and a permanent injunction preventing the National Geographic Society and Fox Networks Inc. from airing the documentary as long as it contains the images, according to Roberts' attorney Jeffrey T. Embry, of Hossley & Embry Attorneys and Counselors.
The suit also seeks to prevent the two companies from using any fallen service members' family photos in future documentaries without the written consent of the family.
Sgt. Roberts was killed near Khost, Afghanistan in an IED attack on May 7, 2008. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service.
According to a news release from Embry, Nearly a year after Sgt. Roberts was buried, Donnice Roberts learned that a documentary was airing overseas which depicted his dead body and images of herself and her two children from a family trip to Disney World. According to court documents, the photos appear to have been taken from Sgt. Roberts' personal laptop after his death.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the documentary was a National Geographic Society production and promoted by the Fox-owned network, NatGeo. The documentary chronicles the work of a military field hospital in Afghanistan. Sgt. Roberts died from his injuries at the hospital and the documentary depicts his family's photo during scenes surrounding his memorial service.
"I had no idea there was any documentary depicting my husband's body, much less containing the images of my young children," Donnice Roberts said. "I believe that before someone broadcasts your children's image around the world for profit, they should get your permission, especially when there are fanatical terrorist out there looking to kill Americans."
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