Did Disney Parks Steal This Artist’s Work?
An artist went viral on TikTok after alleging that Disney plagiarized a sculpture he made and sold it as commemorative merchandise.
Andrew Martin — a professional artist who operates on TikTok under the handle @monstercaesarstudios — uploaded several videos to back up his claims.
His first video on the topic was shared in late February. In it, Martin said that the brand "stole [his] artwork and is selling it in their parks." The artwork in question was a sculpture inspired by the Magic Kingdom theme park's iconic Enchanted Tiki Room attraction that he said he made in 2018.
After creating the artwork, Martin said he shared the model online so that others could create their own.
He showcased both physical and computer-generated images of his piece and compared it to a music box that Disney later sold for $125. The creator claimed that there were multiple direct similarities between his model and Disney's. Examples included small flaws that he left within his computer-generated model such as two circles that were conjoined.
Martin hypothesized that Disney's model was created by a freelance artist based on his previous experience working with the brand. He was once commissioned to create an ornament inspired by the movie Up. Although he urged the brand to "do better," he did not seem to think they were directly responsible for the alleged thievery.
Watch the original video below:
Martin's first video on the topic was viewed more than 10.6 million times. He has since shared several additional videos answering questions and providing updates.
In a follow-up video that also received more than 10 million views, Martin corrected one of his assumptions from the initial video. While he originally blamed a freelance artist, he claimed that the work was actually credited to Costa Alavezos.
Alavezos was reportedly the product design manager for Disney, a title he held for approximately six years, according to a screenshot that seems to show his LinkedIn page. Based on his professional experience, Martin said that Alavezos should "know better."
"I'm not disappointed; I'm just mad," Martin said about the situation. Watch the video below:
In another video, Martin showcased alleged screenshots from Alavezos' social media accounts where Alavezos seemingly claimed credit for the artwork.
"Go f--k yourself, you s---ty thief," the artist said.
What's more, in that video Martin claimed Disney had taken the music box off its website. He was unsure if it was because of complaints about plagiarism or if the piece had simply sold out.
Mashable also notes that some people claimed the music box was still available to purchase in some stores throughout the parks.
Watch the video below:
In other videos Martin answered questions about how he could own the copyright to his creation even though it was inspired by Disney. Watch his videos on the topic below:
He's also taken to selling merchandise of his own that is inspired by Disney. Check out his clever "Work Worth Stealing" shirts below:
At the time of publishing, Disney does not appear to have commented on the situation. Mashable reports the brand did not return "multiple requests for comment."