The latest Spike Lee joint, “
Oldboy,” came out today. It stars Josh Brolin and it’s a remake of a South Korean film that came out a decade ago. It’s a dark and twisted movie, and the movie posters promoting it do a good job at capturing that.
But freelance designer and photographer Juan Luis Garcia sent an email to Spike Lee accusing the director’s film company of stealing his designs to promote the movie.
He recounts dedicating two months to working on “Oldboy” posters. He says the joy he felt upon learning Spike Lee personally chose one of his designs as the key poster quickly faded when the ad agency on the movie offered him less than he made in a day in a low-level photography job. He said they refused to negotiate on a price and became furious when he declined their offer. “I need you to know the truth. Some of the posters you are using were stolen from me. I tried my hardest to resolve this amicably but the agency just blatantly refused,” the email says:
They told me 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 arse to oblivion. For what, I honestly don’t know. We never signed any contracts or work-for-hire agreements and I certainly never agreed to donating or selling any copyright of my work without a licensing fee.
He said he decided to chalk it up as a loss, even when he saw what he believes is a slightly modified version of his poster promoted months later:
Garcia claims that earlier in the week, he found his original design and two more of his posters on Spike Lee and his production company’s Facebook pages, with their copyright claims on them. He says he wanted to contact Lee before pursuing legal action. Here are the other two posters in question:
Lee’s production company 40 Acres And A Mule did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment by the time we published this post. Both they and Lee have kept mum on social media regarding the subject for the past couple days, but that hasn’t stopped Garcia’s fans from spamming their pages with a link to the “Dear Spike Lee” letter. An example:
“Everyone is asking why I don’t name the [ad] agency and the answer is simple. Spike knows exactly who I am referring to,” Garcia told The Hollywood Reporter. He also told them that he has been receiving a stream of support from the design community.
Garcia has previously designed posters for movies like “The Great Gatsby” and photographed celebrities like The Roots drummer Questlove.