Kellie-Jay Keen threatened with legal action by Campbell's soup

EXCLUSIVE: Women’s rights campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen who was doused with soup at rally is threatened with legal action by Campbell’s over fundraising mug that they claim looks too much like famous tin

  • Kellie-Jay Keen was sent letter on September 7 but says she will not back down  

Multi-national food giant Campbell’s has threatened a women’s rights campaigner with legal action over a fundraising mug depicted in the style of a soup can.

The America-based firm – which boasts £7.5billion revenue a year- fired a threatening missive to Kellie-Jay Keen, 49, over items she sells on her Adult Human Female store.

They include a cup which bear’s the lettering ‘Posie’s courage tomato soup’ and an email badge featuring a cartoon tin.

Campbell’s legal letter arrived last week and ordered her to stop using what it described as its ‘soup can imagery’ by September 22. 

Mother-of-four Ms Keen decided to do a tin parody design after she had the liquid food thrown over her during a speaking tour of New Zealand.

She told MailOnline: ‘I was surprised to receive the legal letter, it’s always feels like a bit of a boot on the neck when a big corporation goes after you.

Women’s rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen during the Let Women Speak rally in Glasgow this year

This mug has attracted the attention of Campbell’s Soup which sent her a legal letter last week

This promotional material was also highlighted by the company’s lawyers in the legal letter

‘I think it’s scary that large corporations think it’s better optics for their organisation to target women’s rights campaigners.

‘When I was “souped” I wanted to own it. I was literally assaulted with soup and this is the reason why I used it for these items.

‘I wanted to take what had happened and make it my own.

‘I’ve seen Andy Warhol’s famous soup cans and it was him that inspired me, rather than the actual food product.

‘My defence of them would be that they are simply parodies.

‘I don’t think anybody in their right mind would think these were connected to Campbell’s or wanted to trade on their reputation.’

Campbell’s was contacted for additional comment by MailOnline but had not responded by the time of publication

Ms Keen was covered in soup at a rally in Auckland, New Zealand, in March and was escorted away by police before having the chance to speak

The legal letter, which carries the address of Campbell’s US headquarters, was sent by the intellectual property counsel for the company.

It included attachments of the items it alleges Ms Keen needs to take down from her online store.

The letter reads: ‘We have seen that you are using Campbell’s soup can design in connection with merchandise sold on your website and in other promotional content.

‘These items and materials depict a soup can with a label incorporating key elements of Campbell’s famous and internationally registered trade dress.

‘This unauthorized use unfairly trades upon the public recognition of the iconic Campbell’s trade dress and constitutes infringement and dilution of Campbell’s valuable intellectual property rights. Accordingly, we request your agreement to cease this and any further use of our soup can imagery. Please provide confirmation that you will comply with this request by September 22, 2023. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.’

Campbell’s was contacted for additional comment by MailOnline but had not responded by the time of publication.

The 48-year-old has become a controversial figure for her views on gender. In 2018 she raised £700 for this poster to be put up in Liverpool

Its own website appears to have a slightly different view on the use of its tin than its lawyers.

The site says: ‘The historic soup can design would be immortalised by Andy Warhol and remain a go-to image of soup to this very day.

‘Even versions of the Canned Food emoji have clear Campbell’s influences.’   

Ms Keen – who founded the Standing For Women movement – uses the stage name Posie Parker for some of her campaigns and for the mug.

She was covered in soup at a rally in Auckland, New Zealand, in March and was escorted away by police before having the chance to speak.

In the aftermath JK Rowling slammed an ex-SNP councillor for ‘having a right old laugh’ at the attack.

The Harry Potter author accused former Glasgow City councillor Austin Sheridan of being ‘open’ about not taking ‘male violence against women’ seriously after he tweeted a photo of a bowl of tomato soup.

There were also many tweets from trans rights activists mocking what happened as well as doing cartoons of soup.

Ms Keen said it was this that made her decide to take ownership of the attack and try and spin it into something positive for her campaigns.    

Ms Keen added: ‘The items I sell on the store goes towards campaigning for women’s rights.

‘For example, I am going to Ireland this weekend and because of threats to me and what happened I have to have security now. This weekend is going to be £2,000 for that alone.

‘I am not going to be taking the products and I am not going to stop selling them.

‘I am sick of women being bullied.’ 

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