MeUndies joined in the fun for the spooky season by launching a collection of Harry Potter themed underwear and sleepwear. You could get everything from a t-strap bralette to jammies in your favorite Hogwarts House pattern, or another general Harry Potter-themed pattern called “Mischief Managed.”
The fun didn't last long, however, as people began complaining on Twitter that MeUndies might be - gasp! - paying for the IP thereby lining the author J K Rowlings pockets.
As soon as the MeUndies collection was announced on Twitter, angry people declared they would never buy the buy brand again, and the MeUndies social Media managed had a frantic day of trying to respond to everyone and explaining their licensing agreement with Warner Bros.
By supporting a powerful TERF, this customer is forced to don the invisibility cloak and go BYE. You’ll never see another cent of mine as long as you sell products that say, “We know a very influential transphobe is benefitting and normalizing anti trans hate but we don’t care.”
— Vincent Viezzer (@VincentViezzer) October 28, 2020
Hi there--The licensing agreement is with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and we are not privy to the details as to how, nor in what amounts, our royalties are disbursed and to whom.
— MeUndies (@MeUndies) October 27, 2020
You need to take a step back and have a far better answer than “sorry we are putting trans lives at risk, we didn’t know where the money went for our product!”
— elizabeth (@dahanese) October 27, 2020
It doesn’t matter how you perceive the world of Harry Potter, it all comes down to the fact that a loud and proud transphobic woman will make profits off of YOUR product which will hurt trans people. You need to do better and end this collab
— 🍂 MADIE DAY ✿ they/them 🍂 (@mxstevierose) October 28, 2020
No matter what MeUndies replied, people were not happy about this collaboration at all, but the Twitter account tried its best in showing support to all Harry Potter fans.
Our driving force in creating this collection with Warner Bros. was to honor and celebrate the themes of diversity, acceptance and equality that are woven throughout the franchise. We have always supported the LGBTQIA+ community, and disagree with the author’s recent comments.
— MeUndies (@MeUndies) October 28, 2020
We disagree with the author’s recent comments. We have always supported the LGBTQIA+ community and will continue to do so as a company. We also have a Pride Employee Resource Group internally, which hosts dialogues surrounding LGBTQIA+ events throughout the year.
— MeUndies (@MeUndies) October 28, 2020
What brought this on, you ask, if you've been deprived of media access for a few years. Well, every since Ms Rowling tweeted out a blessing: "Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security." while showing support to Maya Forstater she has been crucified by a section of the LGBTQ+ community, and allies - because gosh that was transphobic. How, you ask? Fast Company has a good rundown on the terms and dealings in UK law.
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
Ever since then, billboards supporting JK Rowling, who supports May Forstater, who supports women overall - I know it's a layered cake this - have been popping up all over the world.
Initially, the campaign was created by Kellie-Jay Keen, the founder of Standingforwomen, who also made the "Woman, noun, adult human female" billboard which was banned everywhere. We had a talk with her on the Adland podcast episode 8 about this. Now that campaign has taken on its own life and gone global, appearing in Edinburgh, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and even appeared as a small digital ad in Times Square, New York city.
Loving a children's book author who created a world so exciting that it spawned movie franchises, toys, games, and now inspired underwear collection wouldn't seem to be all that controversial, but then 2020 is really strange, so here we are.
See, it's not really about Harry Potter or even J K Rowling. It's about women's rights. It's women's scholarships, and future careers that are at risk, but you'd never know that from glancing at Twitter.
Self-ID brings several problems if you follow it to the logical end, if any self-ID male can participate in women's sports, who do you think will lose? Women. She'll not only lose a single game or race but her position for a scholarship which may be her only way of attending a great school. She'll lose the earnings from winning, a place on a team that could become a career. All the potential sponsorships in the future that this entails. Where would it end? If self-ID opens any door, why do we have women's prisons? Women's schools? Women's bathrooms? Why did women get their sex-segregated spaces in the first place, and who fought for them, do you think? That's right. Women.
Because no matter how much men and women may think alike, and share our ambitions and passionate drive equally, we are physically different, and it was for stating this on her personal Twitter account that Maya Forstater was fired. She lost the first round in the employment appeal tribunal, but she has filed an appeal and is set to return 27-28 April 2021.
MeUndies had no idea how many people would get their panties in a twist over a simple children's book universe pattern on jammies, but few would unless they had followed this closely and read adland religiously.