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Drink Company’s Wubba Lubba Dub PUB operated one day before calling it quits. Themed after the show Rick and Morty, the pop-up is off despite months of crafty preparation and despite a hiring spree that gave many D.C. bartenders a gig during the slow season.
Turner Broadcasting and Cartoon Network threatened Drink Company with exorbitant fees.
The company issued the following statement on Facebook Friday night:
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.
If you have something to say to Turner, see handles below:
Twitter/Instagram: @rickandmorty @turner @adultswim Facebook: rickandmorty adultswim turnerbroadcasting
Washingtonian asked Drink Company how they’ve been able to get around situations like this in the past with pop-ups themed after Game of Thrones, for example. “We can’t really talk about them on the record,” CEO Angie Fetherston told the magazine, adding that behind-the-scenes agreements take place.
Adult Swim issued the following statement Saturday:
Adult Swim 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.
This story will be updated should more information become available.