When Fine Art and Cartoons Mix: Spongebob Lawsuit
August 21, 2011
Spongebob Squarepants appears to be a fairly docile creation, one that is more commonly found on toddler’s paraphernalia than it is on the walls of galleries. However, Spongebob’s creator has recently been accused of committing a “a malicious and brutal assault and robbery” against a gallerist.
The characters on “Spongebob Squarepants” were designed by cartoonist Todd White, who has also done commercial art work for Coca-Cola and the Grammy Awards. Margaret Howell, founder and owner of the HB Gallery, claims that White and his “henchmen” threatened her with physical harm and took back $1 million worth of White’s art from the gallery.
White tells a different version of the events of that night. He claims that he, his manager, and his attorney went to see Howell to resolve a dispute regarding an alleged fraud. Allegedly, Howell forged White’s signature on a number of important documents. White claims that on the night of the incident they reached a confidential settlement in which Howell would give back the artworks if White agreed to drop his claims of fraud and copyright infringement.
According to The Art Newspaper, Howell is seeking a “total of $7.5m as compensation for what she said was extreme emotional trauma and damage to her business.”
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