Monday, January 5, 2015

Have A Nice Resolution: Mick Foley Shows How

The original "Cheap Pop" design
Mickey Foley is has been a professional wrestler, a best-selling author, a children's book writer, a noted Christmas enthusiast, a documentary producer, a travelling stand-up comedian and storyteller, an advocate for RAINN... and when dealing with one t-shirt designer, was also a bit of an unethical dick. As the reddit thread by a designer who did work for him outlined:

So we designed the Mick Foley's Cheap Pop shirt. He loved it. He wanted to sell them on his comedy tour, specifically a couple of big shows he was doing overseas at the time...We also planned to sell them on our website and broached the idea that Mick would plug the shirt for us on Twitter and we would donate a portion of the profits to RAINN...

He was cool with that initially and agreed.Then he changed his mind and asked if we would be okay with letting him sell them exclusively for awhile before we started selling them on our site... we agreed to hold off for 2 months while he sold them on his tour.In the meantime, he sold the shirts. He wore it in a photoshoot and even Nolle was rocking one.The 2 months passed and he wanted to extend the exclusivity. Eh, sure. Then he wanted to extend it a third time... We wanted to sell it. So we told him we we really wanted to start selling. He seemed cool with that and promised to plug us on Twitter and mention us in an online radio show interview he was doing. 

He never did either.

We sold a limited run of the shirts online... We knew we were shutting down and Mick still seemed interested in selling the shirts, so I emailed him and asked him if he was interested in buying the artwork from us. That way, he'd own it and could manufacture as many as he wanted without having to use us as the middleman.He was interested so we started negotiating price. We offered him a VERY reasonable price and he said it was too high. Against better judgement... we went even lower. Again, he balked and said it just wasn't affordable. We couldn't go any lower.That was the last email I ever got from him, despite sending a follow-up email a few weeks later to see if he was still interested or if there was anything else could do. So at that point, we figured, ah well, lost cause. It was fun while it lasted.

However a while later, the designer was at a Ring of Honor show when he saw an attendee wearing a autographed "Cheap Pop" design shirt that was clearly inspired by his design...

... and as it turned out, Foley was selling the above design at his stand-up shows!

I'm a graphic designer-- I've even done design & shirt work for a professional wrestler, and it is always saddening to see a fellow creative worker get ripped off. Especially because designs and pro wrestler face a lot of the same creative and financial struggles. Pro wrestler Jervis Cottonbelly has spoken before on how important it is for wrestlers to adequate compensate and respect those who are designing there merchandise so the attitude isn't unknown to pro wrestlers at large.

After the designer went public with his story, and one small twitter firestorm later... Mick Foley had this to say:

"I have realized over the course of several civil DM's with you that making a legally acceptable move, and a morally correct move are not always the same thing. In recognition of this distinction, I apologize for not informing you of my decision to pursue an alternate version of your concept and I will donate the remaining #CheapPop shirts in my possession to people in need on Long Island. Maybe we can re-issue the shirt later this year as a fund-raiser for RAINN. It is my sincere hope that you will not be the recipient of any unpleasant social-media interactions because of this issue."

Mick Foley also posted a slightly longer version on his facebook page, conceding that he could understand just "...why the creator of the original #CheapPop t-shirt may have dared use the "D word" in reference to my decision to change artists and artwork on a similar project, without letting him know about it first... I could have handled the situation with more respect to the original artist..."

See? It's not hard to make amends. When you mess up, you own your mistake, you accept responsibility for it, you acknowldge why what you did was wrong, and you sincerely apologize to the wronged party. Both designer and designee have worked out an amicable solution, and hopefully a lesson was learned.

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