Leave.EU, which is campaigning for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, has ignored a demand from the British Olympic Association (BOA) to stop using images of Team GB medal winners at Rio and from seeking to associate itself with the Games.
As we reported yesterday, gold and silver medal-winning track sprinter Callum Skinner asked Leave.EU, co-founded last year by UKIP donor Arron Banks and had Nigel Farage as its figurehead during the EU referendum campaign, not to use his image in a video montage posted to social media.
— Callum Skinner (@CallumSkinner) August 16, 2016
The organisation, which was apparently seeking to equate Team GB’s Olympic success with the vote in June's referendum for theUK to leave the EU, subsequently revealed that it had received a letter from the British Olympic Association which asked it to confirm that“all social media posts and online content has been immediately removed and any other usages of our intellectual property.”
In a blog post published on its website yesterday, Leave.EU said: “Following in the footsteps of NASA and Victoria Beckham, the British Olympics Association has decided to sue Leave.EU for pointing out how great Team GB are doing.
“Throughout the referendum campaign, remaniacs constantly talked Britain down, believing we were too small and too pathetic to succeed outside of the EU.
“We understand they’re still pissed that the majority of people do believe in Britain and want us to succeed as an independent country outside of the crumbling EU, but to try and stop us promoting just how great we’re doing reeks of desperation.”
The International Olympic Committee’s Rule 40 places restrictions on marketing and other communications, such as on social media, by “non-Olympic partners” while the Games are in progress, including by “businesses and organisations who are not official sponsors of Team GB or the IOC.”
BOA lawyer Poonam Majithia said in the letter, which Leave.EU reproduced on its website: “It has come to our attention that the Official Leave EU Campaign has published a number of posts on via the Twitter and Facebook social media channels (screenshots attached), including a video which extensively utilise the above marks as well as Team GB athlete imagery.”
Outlining that usage of Olympic-related intellectual property such as images of Team GB athletes without its consent infringed the BOA’s rights, she set Leave.UK a deadline of 5pm yesterday to:
- confirm the extent to which the Leave EU Campaign has been using our IP, i.e. whether it has used our IP on any other channels than as identified in this email;
- confirm that all social media posts and online content has been immediately removed and any other usages of our intellectual property have been immediately ceased;
- confirm the number of views and shares that the video has received on both Twitter and Facebook; and
- confirm you will refrain from making any further use of our IP.
As of 2pm on Thursday – 21 hours after that deadline expired – the video Skinner had objected to, and which incorrectly says he won silver rather than gold in the team sprint, was still on Leave.EU’s Twitter feed.
In its blog post, Leave EU added: “They [the BOA] even want us to stop supporting our very own Andy Wigmore who moonlights as an Olympic shooter for Team Belize when he’s not running our communications. Anybody who has followed Wigmore’s Olympic saga will know he needs all the support he can get!”
According to the Rio 2016 website, Belize has three athletes competing at the Olympics – Brandon Jones and Katy Sealy in athletics, and judoka Renick James. Wigmore does not appear, with the London Evening Standard reporting that he failed to qualify. He is in Rio, however, as part of the country’s delegation, but not as a competitor.
He had previously hoped to shoot at London 2012 through securing a Tripartite Commission place, designed to give athletes from smaller countries a chance to compete at the Olympics, but instead attended the Games in the capacity of attaché to the Belize team.
Wigmore did compete in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, when the shooting events were held at the Ministry of Defence-owned Barry Buddon training area near Dundee, finishing 34th out of 36 competitors in the trap competition.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.