Felix d’Eon is a gay Mexican artist whose distinct illustrations we’ve featured on our site before. On Tuesday, he noticed that the American big box retail chain Target was selling a Pride t-shirt that looked a lot like a loteria design he’s had on his Etsy store from as early as May 2017. d’Eon began issuing public tweets about the Target Pride shirt, but while they pulled it from their store, the shirt’s distributor, Mad Engine LLC may still be profiting off of it.
D’Eon initially called out Target in a tweet that read, “Target stole a design of mine and printed it on a tshirt. Is this how you support the queer Latinx community, @Target , by stealing the art of a gay Mexican artist? I’m curious to hear what you have to say!”
Target responded via Twitter by writing, “Target respects the design rights of others & expects our vendors to do the same. We’ve removed the shirt from our online assortment & are in contact w/the vendor. We spent a lot of time selecting Pride merchandise that celebrates the LGBTQ+ & ally community. Please check DMs.”
However, d’Eon replied, “Your apology rings hollow so long as the t-shirt is available in your brick and mortar stores; you are still profiting off my work, and appropriating from the queer, Latinx community.”
Another supporter of d’Eon’s wrote, “I bet they don’t rip-off Disney and Marvel (who have large teams of lawyers)…. But a gay Latin designer? Whaddagonnadoaboudit?”
Felix d’Eon soon realized that Mad Engine LLC was the distributor who had created the t-shirt design that Target sold. Thus far, Mad Engine has not publicly responded to d’Eon’s tweet.
It has come to my attention that @madengine is the company responsible 4 stealing my design, & selling it to Target; was this an attempt to support the queer Latinx community, or to profit of us by stealing the design of a gay Mexican artist and selling it to a major corporation? pic.twitter.com/tqkqGVFvTA
— Felix d'Eon (@FelixdEon) May 16, 2018
This isn’t the first time Target has been accused of selling designs created by other artists without their permission. In 2015, the Australian designers Peaches and Keen discovered their artwork reproduced on fabric used for in Target’s children’s wear.
Often, an independent artist cannot afford the time or costly legal representation to recoup losses for intellectual property theft and are forced to submit a “cease and desist” letter or accept a paltry settlement sum, even as the remaining stock with their art on it remains.