According to artist/designer Juan Luis Garcia his Oldboy comps were stolen.
Allegedly, Garcia was hired by an ad agency responsible for Oldboy. Naturally he was thrilled about the opportunity, and after two months of work Spike Lee himself liked what Garcia had come up with. However, when it came time to negotiate the licensing buyout, the agency was unwilling to offer more than what Garcia makes in a day as a photo assistant, telling he should be happy for the exposure. After some consideration, Garcia decided to decline their offer.
The situation gets a little uglier, which you can read about in Garcia’s open letter to Spike Lee. Essentially, Garcia’s claim is that his work was used as the basis for the posters used and that Spike Lee has his comps on his Facebook page under the assumption that they were rightfully acquired.
The assumption is that Garcia wants the situation corrected, but when he says, “It affected all aspects of my life from my marriage to my work and my health. I was taken advantage of, lead on, lied to, manipulated, and harassed for over two months while I put all I had into designing the comps” it sounds like he’s padding a future lawsuit.
Here are a couple choice excerpts from Garcia’s letter:
The agency told me, ‘Congratulations, Spike loved a couple of the posters. Yours is going to be the key art,’ and I was thrilled. But when it came time to negotiate the licensing buyout fee the agency made an insultingly low offer. But they said that the important thing wasn’t the money it was the exposure and potential for more work. After thinking about it long and hard I had to decline. I tried to negotiate but they refused. I make the same amount of money in a single day as a photo assistant as what they offered and I had worked on these almost exclusively for two months. Plus there was still more work to be done so I had to refuse.
The agency was furious. They told me that I didn’t want to mess with Spike Lee, that I would never work again, that I was a despicable human, that they wish they never met me, and that they were going to sue my ass to oblivion.
Not good publicity on Oldboy‘s opening weekend, but I don’t think many people are going to see anyway (just my prediction). What do you think: Were Garcia’s comps stolen and should he be paid?
Rock Hard \m/