Carson billboard removed in India, company apologizes

Indian company apologizes for use of image

jstancill@newsobserver.comMarch 23, 2012 

A billboard featuring the photo of murdered UNC student body president Eve Carson seen on National Highway 49 maybe 20 and 30 miles west of Munnar in southern India.

BRUCE SICELOFF — bsiceloff@newsobserver.com

The company in India that had billboards featuring a photo of slain UNC-Chapel Hill student leader Eve Carson has apologized and has already removed one sign, according to an email from a director of the firm.

Justy Mathews, a director with Jubeerich Consultancy, wrote of his “deep agony, pain and hearty condolence and my unconditional apologies from the bottom of my heart.”

In an email to The News & Observer, Mathews said the use of Carson’s image was “an inadvertent mistake from one of the subcontractors” who knew nothing of Carson’s murder. He said he had sent a new subcontractor to look for the billboards and one was removed immediately. That was the only billboard found, he said, but pledged to remove any advertising with Carson’s photo. He also said the company would not use photographs of anyone “unless it is with a written contract with those persons to promote our education business.”

Jubeerich offers study abroad opportunities and job placement, according to its website. The company has four locations in southern India, where two signs were spotted by a News & Observer reporter traveling in India.

The photograph on the sign had been widely published and broadcast in media reports of Carson’s death in 2008. The picture was Carson’s official student body president portrait, and the copyright is owned by the university. UNC-CH attorneys were looking into the issue, a university spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Carson, a popular and accomplished student leader, was abducted, robbed and shot to death in 2008 in a case that made international headlines. Two men are serving life sentences for her murder.

In a rambling email that included personal apologies to Carson’s family members by name, Mathews wrote that he was shocked to learn the “terrifying story” of Carson’s killing.

Stancill: 919-829-4559

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