Earl Granville has made headlines plenty: A wounded combat veteran, he’s completed marathons and races in the name of bringing attention to causes like mental health and overcoming adversity.
He’s probably most famous for running the Boston Marathon — in which he famously carried assistant Andi Marie over the finish line.
But he’d like nothing to do with one corner of the internet in which he’s particularly famous.
This year, Granville learned that people had been using his picture to cash in on t-shirts and get clicks, mainly in pro-Trump and “pro-veteran” internet circles, according to The Daily Beast. Someone figured out how to edit the shirt he was wearing in a photograph, and it quickly spun out of control.
The promotion worked, unfortunately; one shirt photoshopped onto him was even posted by Fox News commentator and conservative darling Tomi Lahren. The edited image used to sell shirts has become a meme that won’t go away, Granville says.
“To see somebody profiting on this, to think ‘Here’s an image of a guy missing his leg, maybe he looks military,’ to use that as that agenda to sell a product,” he told The Daily Beast, “That’s where I needed to step in.”
A non-profit has been filing cease-and-desist notices on Granville’s behalf with businesses unlawfully using his image to hawk shirts and political views, he says. One Facebook page called “Veteran’s Pride” even blocked him.
“It’s become some random photo on the internet. They don’t know the backstory,” Granville says.