TikTok Bans Medieval Instances Union Account Following Trademark Grievance
Erin Zapcic awoke Saturday morning to some unwelcome notifications on social media.
Zapcic, an actor who performs a queen at Medieval Instances in Buena Park, California, additionally helps run Fb and TikTok accounts for the brand new union representing employees at her citadel. The notification from Fb involved a publish by the union account that known as on the famed dinner-theater chain to pay a dwelling wage.
“Your publish has been reported for trademark infringement,” it learn, based on a screenshot Zapcic shared with HuffPost. “Nobody else can see your publish. It was reported by Perico Montaner.”
Perico Montaner is the CEO of Medieval Instances.
The information was even worse over on TikTok.
“Account banned,” a notification from the social media platform learn, based on a screenshot. “Your account is banned for violating TikTok’s Mental Property Coverage.”
A spokesperson for Fb dad or mum firm Meta stated the union’s publish was incorrectly taken down and later restored. The corporate declined to remark additional, citing litigation between Medieval Instances and the union.
TikTok didn’t reply to HuffPost’s questions Monday concerning the banning of the union’s account. It’s not clear whether or not the grievance made to TikTok stemmed from the account’s title — @Mtunitedca, a reference to the union, Medieval Instances Performers United, and its bargaining unit on the California citadel — or the content material of its posts. TikTok’s coverage covers “copyrights, emblems or different mental property rights.”
Zapcic stated the accounts hadn’t drawn any complaints till a current TikTok video gained some traction. The union had inspired supporters to go over to Medieval Instances’ Instagram account and inform the corporate what they assume.
“Nothing had been a problem till all of the sudden we had 30 feedback on [a company] publish saying, ‘Why don’t you pay your actors higher?’” stated Zapcic.
Medieval Instances didn’t reply when requested by way of electronic mail if the corporate had made complaints to the social media platforms.
In that case, these complaints could be in line with a lawsuit the corporate filed in October towards the employees’ union — the American Guild of Selection Artists, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO labor federation — alleging trademark infringement.
AGVA and the employees named their union Medieval Instances Performers United since they’re performers who work at Medieval Instances. The corporate stated in its courtroom submitting that the union had created “shopper confusion” by referencing Medieval Instances in its title and through the use of Center Ages-themed imagery.
“The weather featured within the Medieval Instances Performers Brand (i.e., citadel, swords, previous script type textual content) all resemble components of Medieval Instances’s branding and center ages-themed décor, that are clearly meant to evoke Medieval Instances’ distinctive picture,” the corporate stated in its lawsuit.
The union has known as the swimsuit “frivolous” and filed an unfair labor observe cost towards the corporate over the grievance, saying it’s meant to intimidate employees and stop them from talking out by means of an implied menace of litigation.
“That is fully egregious and units a harmful precedent for unions and organizing campaigns sooner or later.”
– Erin Zapcic, Medieval Instances queen and union committee member
Elsewhere, different new unions have equally referenced their employer of their title — Starbucks Staff United, Amazon Labor Union and Dealer Joe’s United, to call a number of — however Medieval Instances seems to be the one firm that has sued over it.
Zapcic stated she believes the corporate has now taken its trademark struggle to social media. Complaining to TikTok and Fb could be extra than simply petty, she stated.
“That is fully egregious and units a harmful precedent for unions and organizing campaigns sooner or later,” Zapcic advised HuffPost. “This might occur to anybody.”
The struggle over the union’s title is a part of a broader labor dispute on the Texas-based firm, which has 9 U.S. castles and one in Canada. Staff have been pushing the corporate to extend pay — many employees begin near the minimal wage, typically regardless of being skilled actors and musicians — and to deal with security considerations on the castles, together with crowd management.
Staff at Medieval Instances’ New Jersey citadel turned the primary to unionize final 12 months, adopted quickly by the employees in California, regardless of the corporate’s opposition. Medieval Instances employed an anti-union advisor in New Jersey who gave speeches to employees there at a value of $3,200 a day.
The union marketing campaign has made for loads of fodder on social media, the place supporters can’t appear to withstand the jokes and puns. (“The peasants are revolting,” and so on.)
The union’s flagged Fb publish had piggybacked off a publish from an organization account for the Buena Park citadel that celebrated solid members’ “Awe-inspiring horsemanship.” The picture confirmed a Medieval Instances actor driving an Andalusian. “Our horses and solid are so proficient,” the corporate’s publish learn.
“Respect the shout-out,” the union account wrote in response, tagging the corporate. “Now how about paying us a dwelling wage?”
The ban notification from TikTok invited Zapcic to start an enchantment course of on the platform. She stated union members will talk about with their legal professionals learn how to proceed. For now, if a TikTok consumer tries to go to the union’s web page, they see a message stating “Couldn’t discover this account.”
Zapcic stated the TikTok account had been the union’s most profitable to date on social media. Staff launched it in December and managed to realize greater than 8,000 followers in a matter of weeks. She stated it was an important avenue for getting the union’s perspective out to supporters and Medieval Instances prospects as employees attempt to cut price their contract.
“TikTok was our strongest, most passionate viewers,” she stated.