EXCLUSIVE: eBay has removed an item for sale that included the Social Security number of former child actor Justin Cooper, best known for his Liar Liar role as the neglected son of the lawyer played by Jim Carrey. The removal came after inquiries from Deadline.
The listing was posted by a mystery seller who goes by the user name “love_heath,” who is eBay’s No. 1 purveyor of pictures of famous little boys. Some are as young as 7, and all of them were child actors. He claims to live in Canada and runs a website, which also goes by love_health, on which he says he will be “listing over 600 of these studio photos over the next couple of days.” His real name is unknown.
He’s currently selling more than 300 of them on eBay. They’re called “original studio agency photos” – old-school glossy 8×10 head shots of young boys, each with an acting résumé stapled on the back.
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The going rate for each head shot and résumé is $10.98, as was the one he was trying to sell of Cooper, who was 9 when the photo was taken but is now a 29-year-old producer at Fox Sports Radio.
It’s not against the law to sell original head shots of children, but there was something on the back of Cooper’s that is illegal to sell: his Social Security number. And love_health broke the law again when he posted it on eBay.
According to the Social Security Act (U.S. Code 42, Section 408), anyone who “discloses, uses, or compels the disclosure of a social security number of any person in violation of the laws of the United States” shall be subject to a fine and imprisonment of up to five years. And under California law, it’s illegal to “Publicly post or publicly display in any manner an individual’s social security number.”
“It is creepy,” Cooper told Deadline. “It’s definitely concerning that my Social Security number was out there. Just the way the listings are worded is creepy.”
“The listing has been removed,” said eBay spokesman Ryan Moore told Deadline. “eBay’s policy “doesn’t allow the sale of names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or other personal information, such as social security numbers or contact information. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.”
Deadline reached out to love_health but got no response.
The incident underscores the lawful sale of images of child actors to collectors who may be something more than just fans. Anne Henry, co-founder of the BizParentz Foundation, one of Hollywood’s leading child advocacy groups, complained to eBay as far back as 2007 that “The only market for these sales is pedophilia related, and BizParentz believes that eBay should not be facilitating the exploitation of minors.”
Love_Health’s website lists thousands of images of child actors for sale – both boys and girls. These include head shots, posters and pages from fan magazines. And while copyright law prohibits the unauthorized reproduction of photos, the sale of hard copies of these materials is not prohibited.
None of the photos are pornographic, but many are marketed as “shirtless” and “barefoot” celebrities when they were children. “That’s a thing,” said BizParentz co-founder Paula Dorn. “Buying and selling photos of little barefoot boys doesn’t break the law, but it’s creepy. There could be a few random fans buying these, but mostly they’re pedophiles.”
“These buyers typically collect thousands of images of children,” Henry said. “The photos and résumés give them something personal about the kids that they can hold in their hands.”
It’s out of stock now at the love_health website, but someone recently paid $14.98 for a 12×9 black-and-white image of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, listed in the catalogue as “Barefoot – Teen Boy Actor.”
A barefoot image of “teen boy actor” River Phoenix, described in the catalogue “very rare,” also sold for $14.98. Phoenix died in 1993 at age 23.
Thousands of other images of child stars are also for sale, or have been sold on the site. A barefoot image of pop star Jesse McCartney sold for $9.98, but for those who like their child stars really young, the site is currently offering a baby photo of McCartney for $34.98 – one of the highest prices in the catalog, which notes that it’s condition is “very good, considering age (has a few dent marks, but still in good shape).”
Also available: a shirtless teenaged-Justin Bieber image for $7.98; a barefoot image of Corey Feldman ($14.98), and a barefoot photo of Jonathan Taylor Thomas for $48.98, which love_health describes as “VERY VERY RARE …..in the 10+ years that I have been buying and selling on eBay, this is the first one I have ever seen.”
On the cheaper side, a barefoot image of a young Justin Timberlake – the site’s top seller – sold for only $4.98, presumably at that low price because only one of his feet is partially exposed.
The site leans heavily toward images of boys, but girls aren’t excluded. A barefoot photo of “teen girl singer” Bella Thorne is still available for $3.98, while a barefoot color photo of “teen girl singer” Taylor Swift can be had for $5.98.
Cooper said that love_health’s illegal posting of his Social Security number could have a positive outcome. “In a way, I guess, it’s fortunate, because now he could potentially be shut down, and if they raid this guy’s house, find a list of people who are buying these things. And who knows what that could uncover?”
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