According to reports, MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor has asked Mastree, an EdTech start-up, to apologize publicly for using his caricature to advertise without his consent. The advertisement in which Tharoor’s caricature was used read, ‘Gift your child Shashi Tharoor’s confidence.’
The Thiruvananthapuram MP is famous for his English skills. However, Tharoor has asked the company a legally binding commitment to reduce and resist such kind of practices.
On this background, Shashi Tharoor told a media organisation, “Yes, I was shocked when friends and social media followers started inundating me with examples of their advertising using my name and caricature as if to imply, I had endorsed their courses or even participated in devising them. My lawyer had already drafted a legal notice when I announced the company would be hearing from my lawyer.” He further added, “A public apology and a legally binding commitment to cease and desist such practices will be required.” However, Tharoor said they have apologized and claimed to have withdrawn the advertisement.
The practice of using quotes and images of well-established personalities is not new. The senior Congress leader also stressed that misusing a person’s name and goodwill without consent is unethical.
Mastree is an online platform that offers English training to children of all ages. This is not the first case where a company has drawn flak for promoting their offerings using high profile personalities. WhiteHat Jr, owned by BYJU'S, was earlier called out for utilising ads using international personalities such as Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai, Elon Musk, etc.
These start-ups are not bothered about the impact of these ads on the mindset of children. Tharoor also agreed and said that these could mislead the children to think that only a particular course or product can help them become just like the person advertised.