X Factor in Rhythmix row as charity writes letter to Simon Cowell

A young people’s charity says its work could suffer as the show attempts to trademark its name


An open letter to Simon Cowell posted on Facebook this morning urges him to change the name of X Factor girl band Rhythmix because it is the same as that of a young people’s charity.


The letter was written by Mark Davyd, chief executive of Rhythmix, a charity that helps vulnerable young people to create and perform their own music. Davyd claims Cowell’s company, Simco, applied to trademark the name Rhythmix while aware that it was already in use by the charity.

“Rather than seeking any discussion with the Charity, considering any of the moral implications of their actions, or checking with the Charity whether the pursuit of an exclusive trademark might have a negative impact on the activities of the Charity, Simco and their legal representatives apparently sought a way to use the law to circumvent the trademark of the Charity,” said Davyd.

The letter paid tribute to Cowell’s own charity involvement, but said The X Factor’s decision threatened Rhythmix’s work.

“Rhythmix the charity has worked with over 40,000 young people in the last twelve years. All of that work is placed at risk by the actions of your company,” Davyd told Cowell.

“Every legal action the Charity has to take to protect itself from Simco is a project that won’t happen. A project that could make a difference to a vulnerable young person.”

Davyd ended the letter by asking Cowell, simply, “Just change the name”.

The publication of the letter follows the initiation of a Facebook campaign claiming to support the charity, which has so far gained over 65,000 followers.

The group is urging music fans to download Nirvana’s 1991 track Smells Like Teen Spirit this December, thereby ensuring an X Factor contestant does not make Christmas number one.

A similar group stopped X Factor winner Joe McElderry from reaching the seasonal top spot in 2009 by supporting Rage Against the Machine single Killing in the Name.

Rhythmix spokeswoman Lucy Stone said of the Facebook group: “This has been purely a campaign by the public. [They] are getting behind us and saying, ‘we want to back this charity’.

“They are saying, ‘we don’t believe what The X Factor is doing is a good way to represent young people’.”

The charity has lodged a formal complaint about The X Factor’s attempt to trademark the word Rhythmix but said it wished the girl band success – under a new name.


RadioTimes.com contacted representatives of The X Factor, who said a legal team was currently examining the claims made in the letter.