Family begs North Carolina company to stop using dead mother's picture in ads

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The family of Mae Clark, who died in 2013, is asking an assisted living company to stop using her picture in advertisements (WTVD)

It's been three years since Mae Clark passed away. Three years later, her family is still trying to get the assisted living facility where she lived to stop using videos and images of Mae for their advertising purposes.

Ron Clark, Mae's son, says his mom lived at Carillon Assisted Living in Knightdale.

"When she first moved in, when she had been there like 90 days, she and I together did a commercial for them," Ron said. "I went out there and we did sign a release for that one commercial."

After Mae passed away in December 2013, the family requested that Carillon no longer use the photos of Mae. Ron said the representative they talked to at Carillon seemed agreeable to the idea, and they thought that was the end of it.

Much to the family's dismay, Carillon continued to use Mae's photos on their website, in newspaper advertisements, in magazine advertisements, and on social media sites including Facebook and LinkedIn.

Ron says he has asked representatives at Carillon repeatedly to see the releases he and his mom signed, but he says he was not provided a copy of those releases. Just this month, Ron spotted a picture of his mom in an advertisement for Carillon in the Seniors Guide.

Mae Clark seen in an ad for Carillon

"I think it's cold, I think it's mean for someone who's supposed to be senior citizen's care, that's how they make a living by looking after senior citizens and I think it just flies in the face of everything that they should stand for," Ron expressed.

Ron reached out to me because he didn't know where else to go.

"We want it to stop. I have seen you have success in helping people in issues like this before and so that's the reason I turned to you," he explained.

Ron Clark shows ABC11 his mother's picture on social media sites

I reached out to Carillon Assisted Living and Karen Moriarty the CEO responded.

In a statement, Moriarty said:

Mae was an absolutely lovely lady who I was fortunate to know. She worked with us in many ways, serving as a resident ambassador when we needed someone to advocate on our residents' behalf with regulators and legislators. She and I did many sit-downs with both across several years and it makes me smile remembering her feisty personality as she talked with those who felt they knew better than she did on seniors' issues.

We do have signed releases from both the family and Mae herself. Mae was actually our featured "star" in the one and only commercial that we filmed here at Carillon. I was there that day, and to the best of my recollection, members of Mae's family were there as well. The artwork and stills from the commercial including many of Mae are featured in much of what we do - 20 different facilities' ad kits, collaterals and of course, the commercial itself. Extricating Mae from collaterals and ads would be a significant, long-term challenge and a costly one as well.

Moriarty did agree to remove Mae's picture from the company's social media sites and also in several places on Carillon's website. After going back and forth with Moriarty for several more weeks, she also agreed to take down several videos of Mae that were on Carillon's website.

Mae's picture seen on Carillon's Facebook page

"I hope you recognize from our ongoing correspondence and efforts over these several months that we are striving to ensure that ads with Mae are not used going forward," Moriarty said. "Where we make missteps, you have my commitment to fix them."

Ron said he and his family are looking forward to finally getting closure.

"That's all we want, is them to quit using my mom's image to advertise their company."

On Thursday, Ron was able to pick up the releases he and his mom Mae signed back in 2011 and 2012. Those releases do allow Carillon along with the production company who shot the videos for Carillon to use the images as they would like for an unlimited amount of time. The best advice, before you sign anything, even though you may agree to it at that time, check to see exactly what you are agreeing to.

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