The creators of the Phillie Phanatic say new changes to the famous mascot's appearance demonstrate a "lack of good faith" by the Phillies in their ongoing negotiations over rights to the iconic character, according to The Philadelphia Business Journal.
The debut of the new-look Phanatic at a spring training game in Clearwater, Florida, last Sunday was the latest development in a legal dispute between the Phillies and the mascot's designers over financial terms of the team's continued use of the Phanatic. The Phillies have filed a lawsuit against creators Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison, claiming they had no right to renegotiate the copyright fee for one of the most recognizable team mascots in North American sports.
The new costume tweaks, which caused an uproar among Phillies fans, include bushy blue eyebrows, new shoes and scales in an attempt to demonstrate an evolution from the original copyrighted design.
Erickson and Harrison fired back at the mascot’s redesign Tuesday, calling it "a transparent attempt to deny us our rights under of the Copyright Act."
“The Phillies lack of good faith in negotiating for an extension of the copyright assignment for the Phillie Phanatic is disappointing,” said Wayde Harrison in a statement. “But the unveiling of the so-called 'new' Phanatic on Sunday is an affront to our intellectual property rights and to Phillies fans everywhere.”
He has evolved, but clearly hasn't matured. pic.twitter.com/Tmo5jHNQOB— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) February 23, 2020
The Phillies declined to comment on Harrison/Erickson's statement due to pending litigation.
“The Phanatic has performed successfully for the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia for decades," said Erickson. "We would love to have the real Phanatic continue with the Phillies."The creators of the Phillie Phanatic say new changes to the famous mascot's appearance demonstrate a "lack of good faith" by the Phillies in their ongoing negotiations over rights to the iconic character.