Drink Company has announced that the threat of legal action by Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network has forced the closure of its Wubba Lubba Dub PUB, a “Rick and Morty”-themed pop-up bar.
Statement from Drink Company:
Wubba Lubba Dub PUB was designed by fans for fans, though we think everyone would have enjoyed it. It was a labor of love and included hand sewn Meeseeks from our CEO Angie’s mother; graffiti work by an incredible artist; a 25-foot Ruben cut out by our Special Projects Director, hockey-referee-turned-craftsman Matt Fox; and deep references to a show that has made us all laugh out loud and confront the deeper meaning behind the gags. In a word, we are fans geeking out.
Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network wasn’t willing to let us do that and demanded we shut down. We then reached an agreement, and thus delayed for a week, but they changed their minds, threatened us with exorbitant fees and then took everything off the table today and refused to talk any further. The whole time we were operating in good faith and willing to make concessions to bring this wonderful work of fan art to life.
Now we have to lay off our beloved employees and take a massive financial hit, all because Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network are unwilling to figure out a way to let a great fan tribute happen. 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.
Statement from Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network:
Adult Swim [Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network] was not approached in advance of Drink Company building out and announcing their Rick and Morty themed bar. That bothered us, not only because it wasn’t polite and aimed at profiting off of Rick and Morty fans, but because we couldn’t be sure that the experience was going to be up to our standards for those fans, whom we never want to disappoint. Also, it’s illegal, which we’re pretty sure still counts for something.
Originally schedule to open on Aug. 9, the Wubba Lubba Dub PUB opened on Thursday, Aug. 16, to very positive reviews:
Hey @BQQuinn “Wubba Lubba Dub Pub” opened last night in DC and it’s glorious. Check it out. @JustinRoiland @RickandMorty Best place to get riggity riggity wrecked, son! pic.twitter.com/Zu0EM5GlWT
— Mike D. (@MND373) August 17, 2018
With PAJ @YooPJay last night at the #RickandMorty pop up bar #wubbalubbadubpub. If you're a fan of the show like I am you HAVE to check put the bar. Well done again @drinkmoresherry @… https://t.co/TMwdjRJFZw
— Rich Mcleod (@logic_promotion) August 17, 2018
Fans of Drink Company and Rick and Morty have been very critical of Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network’s position:
Super disappointed in @Turner @cartoonnetwork @RickandMorty for killing this bar. Rick and Morty is a show with die hard fans (clearly) trying to pay tribute to its brilliance. It’s bull that your corporation can’t see how cool this is and had to fun police it out of existence. https://t.co/VBKMVrU1yv
— Ally Perleoni (@allyperl) August 18, 2018
@adultswim @Turner @RickandMorty We booked tickets to meet up with our best friends in DC so we could go to the Wubba Lubba Dub Pub. together… Way to put intellectual property and legal bullshit before fan loyalty…
— Rob K (@mydubscheckem) August 18, 2018
Really disappointed that @turner & @adultswim couldn’t find a compromise with @drinkcompanydc to open the @RickandMorty bar in DC. Looks like so much work put into it & a lot of folks out of a gig.
— Korey (@koreynotlori) August 18, 2018