On January 24th, 2021, the activist art collective INDECLINE published a cease and desist letter on their Insta from Hasbro, Inc. to Alec Monopoly. Hasbro is not pleased with Mr. Monopoly's use of their Rich Uncle Pennybags character (from the game Monopoly, of course) in his artwork. The tone of the letter is serious and simultaneously dripping with sarcasm. It is, quite frankly, hilarious.
Dear Mr. Andon,
We are reaching out in regards to a violation of our intellectual property.
Our legal team has made us aware of your work, and, to put it mildly, Hasbro Inc. is not impressed with your take on Rich Uncle Pennybags. Reducing our mascot to a plasticized brand, replicated ad-nauseum as a promotional gimmick, is not in keeping with our company culture.
We haven't forgot that, Monopoly, in essence, is about stealing. But stealing is only fair when everybody has an equal opportunity. A wall is free for anyone to paint, provided they choose to take the risk. But when multiple walls are clogged in a campaign to enrich oneself by already having money purposefully imitating the aesthetic of being an industry plant, we feel the game is rigged, and thus, must take legal and ethical action.
Again, it's not that we are against such self-enrichment in principle, but you're not trying to say anything beyond "give me your money and I'll spray paint some Louis Vuitton luggage for you."
Therefore, while we await a judgment from the courts, we went ahead and removed the first piece from the wall at 7547 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA. We instructed the workers to leave all the other tags, because we figured they deserved the canvas to continue their practice and get better. Isn't that what art is all about? Trying.
Unless you're willing to try harder, we demand ALEC MONOPOLY leave us out of it. We have always been in this for the kids. Not the toys.
On February 15th, INDECLINE published a follow-up letter from Hasbro to Mr. Monopoly on Insta. This one cranks up the snark factor by about 1000%. It had us in tears of laughter, gasping for breath.
Dear Mr. Andon,
We still haven't received a response to our first letter, so we are performing our due diligence by reaching out one last time.
We have devoted decades to facilitating all the pleasure of capitalism in a relaxing, gamified format, so we actually enjoy the process of lawyering, leveraging and intrigue that is corporate law. That means we were pleasantly surprised to find out the culture surrounding graffiti is so comfortably familiar. There are rules, but those rules favor the ruthless. Uncle Moneybags would certainly approve.
Therefore, while we wait for the dust to settle in the courtrooms, we are going to continue to "take it to the streets," as the kids say.
Our researchers have discovered that there are even greater "disses" that we can engage in than just "buffing" a mural that violates our copyright. Please be patient with us, as we learn the ins and outs of a "beef," but rest assured, this is a formal notification that we have reached that level.
We made a couple changes to the mural at 7624 Melrose Ave. It was pointed out to us that "toy" has a deeper meaning than we were aware of in "the culture," and how fitting, for an artist of your obsessively-superficial character. Therefore, we made sure to "go over" the piece this time, instead of just erasing it. Our research found this tactic to be even more disrespectful.
Although we love to play games, we also tend to win them. We surmise, Mr. Andon, based on your trifling body of work, that you must love to play games as well. But we want to assure you that when you play with the Hasbro Corporation, you are only playing yourself.
Now consider yourself warned.