By Sally Fahey

The new Phillie Phanatic has been received with mixed opinions.

But creators Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison called the “so-called ‘new’ Phanatic” an “afront [sic] to our intellectual property rights and Phillies fans everywhere.”

“For more than 40 years, we have worked closely with the Phillies, making all the Phanatic costumes, providing artwork and ideas until June of 2018,” said Erickson, who also created famed Muppets Miss Piggy and Statler and Waldorf. “The Phanatic has performed successfully for the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia for decades. The ‘business decision’ by the Phillies to roll out this ‘new’ Phanatic is a transparent attempt to deny us our rights under … the Copyright Act. We would love to have the real Phanatic continue with the Phillies.”

“The species that survives is the one that adapts to change, and, Darwin was right, who knew?” Tom Burgoyne, the man behind the mascot’s megaphone mouth and “the Phanatic’s best friend of 32 years,” previously said.

The Phillies did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Burgoyne said that the legal brouhaha “kind of kick-started” the Phanatic’s transformation but that the changes were more about seizing a “great opportunity to have some fun, be creative, and make a teaching moment for kids.”

The Phillies sued Harrison and Erickson in August, claiming that the puppet-making pair were threatening to make the Phillie Phanatic a “free agent” and withdraw from a 1984 copyright agreement for $250,000 to allow the team to use the mascot “forever.”


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