The day before the film’s Thanksgiving release, designer Juan Luis Garcia made claims that an ad agency stole his designs for Spike Lee’s Oldboy (review), which only added more negative energy* surrounding the release. Obviously, we don’t have an opinion on the matter because we aren’t the judge or jury, but his designs were extraordinarily similar. Garcia took his frustrations to his blog and wrote an open letter to Lee, explaining the situation. At no point does he blast Lee, only stating that he was told Lee liked his comps and that the ad agency wanted to use them.
Lee caught wind of the letter over the holiday, tweeting out a pretty harsh response: “I Never Heard Of This Guy Juan Luis Garcia,If He Has A Beef It’s Not With Me.I Did Not Hire Him,Do Not Know Him.Cheap Trick Writing To Me.YO.“
Did Lee even read the letter? I’m guessing not as he immediately gets defensive, not to mention that Garcia never appeared to have beef with Lee. He was only asking the director of the film to help get what was owed to him by the ad agency. Lee has a lot of power, and is very accessible, which is why it makes a lot of sense to write an open letter to him.
It got worse when Instagram followers started to push on Lee, who responded to them: “Why Should I Pay Someone Who I Never Met Nor Had Any Contact With Ever? He Never Made Any Deal With Me.Why Don’t You Pay Me For Your Stupid Text On Thanksgiving Day?”
Again, Lee doesn’t appear to have even read the designer’s letter, as there was no attack on Lee, but the agency doing the work for FilmDistrict.
In an email to The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday, Garcia said he hoped Lee could help him resolve the situation with the ad agency without taking any legal action. He said he wasn’t naming the ad agency because Lee knew “exactly who” he was talking about.
“I don’t want to sue anyone, it’s not in my nature, but if that’s what it comes down to, so be it,” he wrote in the email. “I’m thrilled he liked the posters and hope they continue using them, but I need to be renumerated.”
I’m actually dying to see how this plays out. Is Garcia seeking attention to get work? Or is Spike Lee oblivious to some truly sinister behind-the-scenes games by an ad agency? We’ll keep you posted as the story progresses…
*In even worse news, Lee’s reboot of director Chan-wook Park’s South Korean revenge thriller of the same name, surrounded by bad buzz, is getting clobbered at the Thanksgiving box office. Playing in merely 583 locations, Variety reports that Oldboy could earn just $2 million for the five-day weekend in what’s shaping up to be one of the worst performances of the year. BRUTAL. We’ll report back with the final details tomorrow.
I Never Heard Of This Guy Juan Luis Garcia,If He Has A Beef It's Not With Me.I Did Not Hire Him,Do Not Know Him.Cheap Trick Writing To Me.YO
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLee) November 28, 2013