A Rick and Morty-themed pop-up bar that opened in Washington, D.C., Thursday has already been shut down due to a copyright dispute with Turner Broadcasting and Cartoon Network, who airs the irreverent adult animated series under its Adult Swim brand (via NBC Washington).
Turner Broadcasting and Cartoon Network wanted “exorbitant” fees for the Wubba Lubba Dub PUB to continue operating, say Drink Company, who owned and operated the bar. The hotspot was supposed to remain open until October 6.
“Wubba Lubba Dub PUB was designed by fans for fans, though we think everyone would have enjoyed it,” Drink Company said in a Facebook post.
The “labor of love” featured hand-sewn Meeseeks, graffiti artwork, a 25-foot recreation of homeless man Ruben, and “deep references to a show that has made us all laugh out loud and confront the deeper meaning behind the gags.” Drink Company said they are “fans geeking out.”
The bar’s opening previously suffered a weeklong delay while both camps negotiated. According to Drink Company, an agreement was reached but Turner Broadcasting “changed their minds, threatened us with exorbitant fees and then took everything off the table today and refused to talk any further.”
Drink Company said it would be forced to layoff their employees and suffer a “massive financial hit.”
“We are so sorry to all the fans but we also have learned a valuable lesson: when it comes to free speech and fair use, Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network believes that should only be a joke on the show,” Drink Company said, directing upset fans to the official social media channels for Turner Broadcasting and Adult Swim.
Some of its interior Rick and Morty-inspired artwork was to be auctioned to patrons with proceeds donated to Destination Imagination, an education-focused nonprofit that develops “project-based learning programs that blend STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education with the arts and social entrepreneurship,” per its official site.
Drink Company previously operated a Game of Thrones-themed pop-up in the same space.
Last September, Netflix issued a playful cease and desist to ‘The Upside Down,’ a Chicago pop-up bar themed to hit sci-fi-slash-horror series Stranger Things. The streaming giant requested the bar owners to “not extend the pop-up beyond its 6 week run,” and to request permission if ever attempting another bar inspired by a Netflix property.1comments
In their statement, Netflix said “it’s important to us to have a say in how our fans encounter the worlds we build.”
Rick and Morty was renewed for 70 more episodes in May.