Death threats and 1,000 angry phone calls prompted the $1 million law suit. Having your business name and phone number appear on the side of an ISIS truck can’t be good for business anywhere in the US, but it may be particularly damaging if your business is in Texas…
Mark Oberholtzer, owner of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, left the ‘Mark-1 plumbing’ stickers on the truck when he traded it in for a newer Ford pickup at AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in October 2013.
A year later, a photo posted on Twitter by the extremist Ansar al-Deen Front from the front lines of the war in Syria showed his truck – stickers and all – being used by jihadis.
Oberholtzer is now seeking more than $1million in punitive damages from AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway for fraud, gross negligence, negligent misrepresentation, defamation, invasion of privacy and deceptive trade, according to Courthouse News.
At the time he turned his truck into the dealer, he started peeling the stickers off his truck, but a salesman stopped him, telling him it ‘would blemish the vehicle paint’ and ‘the dealership had something better for removal’, Oberholtzer said in a lawsuit in Harris County Court.
On December 17, 2014, Oberholtzer’s secretary called him to let him know that a member of the jihadi group Ansar al-Deen tweeted a ‘propaganda photograph’ with a message reading: ‘using plumbing truck against regime in #Aleppo’.
Oberholtzer’s company logo and photo were depicted on the vehicle door in the photograph.
This photo, taken from a propaganda video, shows a near identical scene featuring a different truck, raising questions as to the authenticity of the photo featuring Mr Oberholtzer’s truck
It remains unknown, however, if the photo is entirely authentic, with a video surfacing around the same time which suggests the photo could have been digitally altered.
Superimposing a better vehicle and gun into a still frame from the original video would be significantly easier than trying to alter the video itself.
This could be why the video features an older model car and weapon, but the photo features Oberholtzer’s older truck.
But despite this, Oberholtzer still received backlash from the community.
‘By the end of the day, Mark-1’s office, Mark-1’s business phone, and Mark’s personal cellphone had received over 1,000 phone calls from the around the nation. These phone calls were in large part harassing and contained countless threats of violence, property harm, injury and even death,’ Oberholtzer’s complaint said.
The plumber said his secretary was too scared to go to the office and that he was afraid for himself and his family, so he traveled to McCallen to escape the backlash.
Via: UK Daily Mail