British photographer David Slater has said that he is broke and depressed after he was sued on behalf of the monkey who took a selfie with his camera.
According to Telegraph, Slater who couldn’t afford flying to attend the hearing in the US, had traveled to Sulawesi, Indonesia to take photos of the animal which is extremely rare and critically endangered.
Slater wad there to publicize the predicament of the endangered crested black macaque. He was sued on behalf of the monkey by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2015.
The monkey had approached the camera mounted on a tripod and began clicking away.
“He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn’t worked that out yet,” Slater said.
PETA had insisted the monkey owned the rights to the photo. “As ‘next friend’ to Naruto (the monkey), we’re seeking the court’s permission to manage the copyright of the photos, license them for commercial use, and use 100 percent of the proceeds to benefit Naruto and his community, whose habitat and very existence are under threat,” it said.
The court had ruled that the monkey could not own the rights to the photo, but Slater has said that the legal fees have left him broke.
The 52-year-old has said that he is considering quitting photography and becoming a tennis coach, or a dog walker.
“This would be a new venture for me. It would pay peanuts, but at least it would be more than photography. I am just not motivated to go out and take photos anymore. I’ve had outlays of several thousand pounds for lawyers, it is losing me income and getting me so depressed. When I think about the whole situation I really don’t think it’s worth it,” he told Telegraph.
“It has taken six years for my original intention to come true which was to highlight the plight of the monkeys and bring it to the world,” he said, adding that it had backfired on his private life but he is happy he took the photo.
He added “No one had heard of these monkeys six years ago, they were down to the last thousands. The locals used to roast them, but now they love them, they call it the ‘selfie monkey’.”
Photo Credit: David Slater/Telegraph