Since announcing his attempt at a political comeback, Vincent Bernard Orange Sr. is ramping up his self-promotion in tweets, in emails, and, before his official resignation as president and CEO, in press releases from the D.C. Chamber of Commerce.
To boost his accomplishments, Orange is dipping into his photo archive that apparently contains at least two of City Paper staff photographer Darrow Montgomery‘s photos.
Exhibit A: This morning, Orange posted (and tagged LL in) a tweet that appears to include the image above to show his support for a $15 minimum wage in D.C. The Council approved the $15 minimum wage four years ago and it finally goes into effect today. City Paper emailed Orange to request that he remove the tweet and stop using the paper’s copyrighted materials.
Orange replied, writing that the tweet contained “a four year old photo announcing me championing the $15 per hour minimum wage. This was in our archives,” he writes.
Not quite. In fact, the photo showing a jubilant Orange waving his hand in the air is from Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s election victory party in November 2014.
To the best of Orange’s recollection, “this is not a Darrow Montgomery photo,” he wrote. “This particular photo was taken by my staff. As you know, at events like this, many photos of the same event, are taken by numerous professional and non professional photographers. With technology, the majority of photos look professional and exactly the same. And numerous photos of the same event are taken daily.”
City Paper replied, writing that for two photos to look this similar, the photographers would have to be standing in the exact same spot using the same camera and capturing the image at the exact same moment, and again asked Orange to stop using copyrighted material.
In response, Orange wrote that “it’s conceivable” that two photographers were standing in the same spot and took the same black-and-white photo. He used the image frequently in 2016, he added, to gather support for the minimum wage legislation.
Orange demanded “strict proof” that he’s stealing Montgomery’s photo and referred any further issues to his lawyer.
To prove his point, Orange attached three more photos from his archive—one of which also belongs to City Paper.
That photo, taken during the same 2014 election victory party, shows Orange on stage, snapping pics with his cell phone next to the late Mayor-for-Life Marion Barry. Barry died about three weeks later. The image also ran as City Paper’s Page Three photo that week.
LL understands why VO would want to use City Paper’s photos as he prepares for what is sure to be a barn burner of a campaign leading up to November. Nearly 20 people are running for the at-large seat, and Montgomery is, in our opinion, the best photographer in town. But running photos without permission is extremely uncool.
Perhaps Orange could just use a different photo? LL would suggest this one, aportrait of Orange sitting in a fancy leather chair, which the Chamber included in a press release announcing his resignation, as long as he can get the legal rights to use it.