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Photographer Allegedly Ripped Off By DKNY Raising More Money for YMCA Kids

By Paul DeBenedetto | February 27, 2013 1:44pm | Updated on February 27, 2013 2:13pm
 The alleged DKNY store that photographer Brandon Stanton said used his work without his permission.
The alleged DKNY store that photographer Brandon Stanton said used his work without his permission.
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A photographer who pressured DKNY into donating $25,000 to the Bed-Stuy YMCA after the corporation allegedly stole his photos is trying to raise even more money to donate to the nonprofit.

Brandon Stanton, who runs the popular "Humans of New York" website, posted a photo Monday that was allegedly sent from a fan that showed a DKNY storefront in Bangkok adorned with pictures from the photographer's website.

Stanton, who said he had previously declined an offer from DKNY to buy the photos, demanded that DKNY donate $100,000 to his local YMCA to pay for kids' summer camp. The company ended up donating $25,000.

"We apologize for this error and are working to ensure that only the approved artwork is used," DKNY posted on its Facebook page Monday. "DKNY has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake."

"I know a lot of you would like to have seen the full $100k," Stanton wrote in a followup post Monday, "but we are going to take them at their word that it was a mistake, and be happy that this one had a happy ending."

Now, Stanton wants to finish the job DKNY started.

"I started thinking about the kids who wouldn’t be going to summer camp," Stanton said on his website. "And I thought: 'You know what, wouldn’t it be awesome (and fun) if we made a $75,000 donation?' That way, a bunch more kids could go to summer camp!"

As of Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after DKNY promised the donation, Stanton has raised more than $35,000 of his $75,000 goal on fundraising site IndieGoGo, with more than two days to go.

Stanton estimated that the full $100,000 goal would send 300 kids to summer camp, 

As of Wednesday afternoon, Facebook users were still leaving comments on DKNY's page, asking the company to donate more money. Others were contacting Stanton personally to show support.

Stanton posted one such note on his Facebook page, from a fan traveling in Southeast Asia who said she had been pickpocketed and lost her iPhone. Rather than buy a brand new phone, she said, she opted to buy an older model and donate the difference to the YMCA.

"I thought about the difference for me between an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 5, compared to the difference between a city kid who doesn't get to go an awesome, character-building summer camp for two-weeks and one who gets to," the note said. "I'm so, so happy and grateful I get the chance to do something meaningful for someone else."