By Lori Perkins
Bridgerton: The Musical, which had already garnered tremendous Bridgerton fan attention from its run on the Tik Tok platform, was sued by Netflix on the night of a scheduled performance at the JFK Center in Washington DC.
The creative duo of Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, who started their musical on TikTok, and won a Grammy for an album of songs they wrote and performed about the erotic historical series.
According to The New York Times, Netflix filed the lawsuit last week because the musical was staged “for-profit” to a sold-out show at the Kennedy Center, where tickets went for as high as $149, without Netflix’s permission. The lawsuit contends that the duo also promoted branded merchandise, and have plans for a future performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The lawsuit contends that “Netflix supports fan-generated content, but Barlow & Bear have taken this many steps further, seeking to create multiple revenue streams for themselves without formal permission to utilize the ‘Bridgerton’ I.P.,” according to a statement via email to the New York Times. “We’ve tried hard to work with Barlow & Bear, and they have refused to cooperate.”
The lawsuit cites four instances of copyright and trademark infringement.
Shonda Rhimes, the producer of the Netflix series which is based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn, said of the lawsuit, “There is so much joy in seeing audiences fall in love with Bridgerton and watching the creative ways they express their fandom. What started as a fun celebration by Barlow & Bear on social media has turned into the blatant taking of intellectual property solely for Barlow & Bear’s financial benefit.”
This is going to be an interesting creative battle to watch.