Creators of original Phillie Phanatic call redesign ‘an affront’

The Phillie Phanatic during a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Colorado Rockies, Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Philadelphia. (Laurence Kesterson/AP Photo)

The Phillie Phanatic during a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Colorado Rockies, Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Philadelphia. (Laurence Kesterson/AP Photo)

The creators of the original Phillie Phanatic accused the Philadelphia Phillies of “an affront to our intellectual property rights and to Phillies fans everywhere” with the team’s redesign of the 42-year-old mascot.

The Phillies unveiled the redesign of the green mascot before Sunday’s exhibition game against Pittsburgh in Clearwater, Florida. The new look features flightless feathers rather than fur-colored arms, stars outlining the eyes, a larger posterior and a powder blue tail, blue socks with red shoes, plus a set of scales under the arms.

Philadelphia sued Harrison/Erickson, the New York company that created the Phanatic, last August in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The team alleged Harrison/Erickson threatened to terminate the Phillies’ rights to the Phanatic as of June 15 and “make the Phanatic a free agent” unless the team renegotiated its 1984 agreement to acquire the mascot’s rights.

Wayde Harrison and Bonnie Erickson issued a statement Tuesday accusing the Phillies of a “lack of good faith in negotiating for an extension of the copyright assignment.”

“The ‘business decision’ by the Phillies to roll out this ‘new’ Phanatic is a transparent attempt to deny us our rights under of the Copyright Act,” they said. “We would love to have the real Phanatic continue with the Phillies.”

Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark said the team was not commenting on the statement because of the pending litigation. The lawsuit is in its discovery phase.

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