Father of New York Post ‘Bag Man’ Seeks Legal Counsel
El Houssein Barhoum is the father of one of the young men depicted on the April 18 cover of the New York Post. “Bag Men,” read the headline, with this explanation: “Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon.”
“These two” had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombings, but they made the Post cover in any case. As a result, Barhoum is talking to lawyers about his options. “A lot of people, they tell me that’s your right to sue them,” says Barhoum, who says he is working toward a contract with a lawyer. “I will give him my case and he will study it.” The Erik Wemple Blog is already on record as favoring this approach.
Should the family file a civil complaint, it’ll surely address the upheaval that the New York Post has helped bring to the Barhoum household. The son in the photo, Salah Barhoum, a 16-year-old track athlete (other accounts say he’s 17), sleeps one or two hours per night these days, says El Houssein Barhoum, and sometimes “refuses to go to school.” “He says, ‘I don’t want people to ask me a lot of questions,’ ” the father reports.
Before the photo hit the New York Post, it circulated on the Internet, a scary development that prompted Salah Barhoum to meet with authorities to clear his name. That was on Wednesday, two days after the bombings. On Thursday, the Post chose to showcase Salah Barhoum and a friend.
Following all the attention, “We were just scared to go outside,” says El Houssein Barhoum, who says he works at a Cosi restaurant in Boston. On account of the sleepless nights he spends thinking about his kid, Barhoum says he’s been arriving late to work. “Recently, because usually I keep thinking about my son and about my family and in the morning, it’s hard for me to wake up early and I become lazy again,” says El Houssein Barhoum, who immigrated from Morocco with his family about eight years ago. “My future is based on my kids, so when you see your future is like really like the destruction of your kids’ future, so how can you feel? My capital is my kids. If something happens to them, it happens to me, too.”