There has been an ongoing debate as to whether Val is able to profit from the sales of her photo. Conspiracy skeptics say that Val is unable to profit, because they point out that the website that advertises Val’s photo states that checks are to be made out to the Todd Beamer Foundation:
It is also important to note that Val is not profiting from this photo. She has stated that she is now keeping some of the proceeds to deal with legal fees relating to a lawsuit with this picture, but if you go to her website to order a copy of her picture, you'll find this:
To order an 8.5 X 11 print of this photo, send a $20.00 check made payable to the Todd Beamer Foundation to the following address:
Last time I checked, her name was Val McClatchey, not "Todd Beamer Foundation". So she can't very well deposit these checks into her own account.
However, if all the checks are made out to the charity, how does Val get reimbursed $2 per print she keeps to cover for supplies and shipping and how is she able to keep some of the proceeds she admits keeping in order to help fight her lawsuit against the AP?
I’ve pointed out before that in at least one occasion, a magazine that had advertised Val’s photo for sale did not say to write checks out to the Beamer Foundation, but told people to make it out in Val’s name. I’ve also argued that it’s possible that people going to her work to buy a print might be able to pay cash for it.
I have also wondered how many people who went to the website that advertises Val’s photo where it says to write checks out to the Beamer Foundation accidentally goofed and wrote their check out in Val’s name and still got a print, so to test out this theory, I had someone “accidentally” write out a check in Val's name:
(Front view of cashed checked.)
...and this is what they got:
Remember, it’s by the honor system that Val forwards her proceeds. Let’s just hope Val is true to her word and forwards $18 from this check to the Beamer Foundation.