The team behind The Beano comic has sent Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg a “cease and desist” letter instructing him to stop impersonating one of its characters, Dennis the Menace’s next-door neighbour Walter The Softy.
Walter Brown, a thin fellow with round glasses, a side parting and a smart bow-tie, has been around since 1953 – 16 years before Rees-Mogg came into the world.
“Dear Sir,” writes Mike Sterling, Head of Beano Studios Scotland. “It has been brought to our attention that you have been infringing the intellectual property right of one of our cartoon characters and masquerading as Walter Brown.
“It is evident that there are numerous instances whereby you have adopted trademarked imagery and brand essences of the character to the benefit of enhancing your career and popularity. This constitutes a clear infringement of our copyright.”
A seven-point list details the striking similarities between the two characters, including “snootiness”, “hair parting and style”, and “the character’s insistence to remind others of his father’s successful career”.
The cartoon studio suggested harsh measures: “A swift response on the matter would be greatly appreciated to avoid getting Teacher involved.”
For his part, Rees-Mogg isn’t planning to end the impersonation any time soon. In fact, he has welcomed the comparison.
“I am flattered to be accused by the Beano’s legal eagles of imitating Walter the Softy whose powerful physical prowess is so much greater than my own,” he wrote on Twitter.