(WSVN) - He loved his part-time job as scary clown at a Halloween Carnival. Now a couple of years later, he is surprised to see his face on the House of Horror ads. Also surprising him, he didn’t get paid for his face being used but do they have to pay him? It’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
He has the tattoos around his neck, his hands and add in his dreadlocks and Celestino Rivera knows some people might see him coming and say, “Uh oh.”
Celestino Rivera, scary clown: “Trust me, I know about that a lot, especially because I have the dreads too, so it makes it a lot worse. Until they see my personality and who I am, they be like, ‘Oh, he’s a good guy.'”
A great guy who likes to have fun … and that’s why he applied to be a scary clown at the House of Horror in Doral back in 2013.
Celestino Rivera: “That first day I killed. I was the clown. Always I’d paint my face somewhat different or they always change different colors of the face, like that.”
The people who came to be scared at House of Horror loved Celestino, and he loved being there…
Celestino Rivera: “Oh, of course. You know what it is to wake up and scare people for a living? It’s a little acting job, and I always like to act. I would not change it for the world.”
Celestino worked the part-time job at the Halloween show in 2013 and 14 … then 2017 rolled around…
Celestino Rivera: “My friend told me, ‘Hey, you know you are on a billboard?’ It’s everywhere. It’s not just on the billboard. It’s on the highway, you see it on flyers.”
Celestino’s scary face is on radio station websites for House of Horror…
The billboards are all over — at the 836, another one off Brickell and this one outside the International Mall.
Celestino Rivera: “Hold on, my picture is seen everywhere. Why am I not being compensated for anything?”
Patrick Fraser: “No one has paid you anything?”
Celestino Rivera: “No, nothing.”
Not only is Celestino not being paid as the face of the House of Horror, he says no one told him or even asked for permission to use his picture.
Celestino Rivera: “They could have talked to me about it or said something. Send me an email, ‘Would you mind this?'”
Celestino says he just filled out a job application in 2013 and doesn’t remember anything on that paper that would give them permission to use his face in their ads.
Patrick Fraser: “Your face is being used to make money?”
Celestino Rivera: “Pretty much.”
Patrick Fraser: “And you are not making a dime?”
Celestino Rivera: “Nothing, not a penny.”
Celestino doesn’t know who took this picture of him. A lot were snapped back then, but he says, if you are going to use his face and not pay him, that’s not fair.
Celestino Rivera: “No, of course it’s not fair. How would you feel if they had your face up there?”
Well Howard, these are the billboards with Celestino’s face. Can a business use his image without his permission?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “They cannot use your picture, your likeness, your voice for commercial purposes without your permission. You have to affirmatively say they can, either verbally or in writing. If they don’t get permission, they have to remove it and compensate you.”
I spoke to the owner of House of Horror. Nelson Albareda said Celestino did not notify them that he didn’t want his face on the billboards.
He said Celestino did sign the application giving them the right to use his picture.
Albareda told me he would send me that signed application … he did not, then quit responding to emails and phone messages.
Howard says that brings up the next step.
Howard Finkelstein: “Now comes the hard part. If they cannot agree on compensation, both sides would have to go to court to decide on how much Celestino’s photograph is worth.”
The owner of House of Horrors told me they would take Celestino’s face off their billboards, but if they cannot produce a signed release to use his picture, Celestino hopes to agree on a fee with them because he says he was a memorable clown.
Celestino Rivera: “I was the very best, and I can admit that.”
Howard Finkelstein: “But you are not getting paid for it.”
Celestino Rivera: “That’s what bothers me.”
We’ll let you know what happens with Celestino.
The lesson here is to read that job application ’cause while they may want to hire you, you want to know what can happen down the road.
Horrified at a problem that’s scaring you? Feel like you are painted into a corner? Face it with us. We don’t have to use tricks or treats to help you ’cause Howard’s legal knowledge is frightening … all right, he has a law degree. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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