Big Red sure is racking the legal bills overseas in a setting you never saw him in before.
The beloved Western Kentucky mascot is at the heart of a long-running (over 15 years!) legal drama in Italy after allegedly being plagiarized by media company Mediaset and designer Antonio Ricci in the creation of their character ‘Gabibbo.’ Per ESPN, the university originally sought $250 million in their case but lost an initial lawsuit before refilling and winning a second one. Italy’s version of the Supreme Court apparently just ruled that an appeal from the school can go through again after Mediaset won an initial appeal of their own in the back-and-forth the two have been going through.
“We couldn’t be more happy with the ruling that came down today,” WKU’s Steven Crossland told ESPN. “It has been obvious from inception that Gabibbo is a copy of Big Red and it’s appropriate that the Italian courts acknowledged Antonio Ricci’s article admitting that ‘he rescued Gabibbo from Kentucky.’ We look forward to resolving this case that has dragged on for 15-plus years. Facts are facts and the other side can’t hide from them.”
The original creator of the Big Red mascot for the Hilltoppers, Ralph Carey, has also been involved in the drama and was apparently central to the school refilling their successful lawsuit several years ago.
Perhaps the best part of this all is not that ‘Gabibbo’ looks remarkably like Big Red, but that he is colloquially known as “the Barney of Italy.” One thing is for sure, it doesn’t seem like either of the two characters will be singing “I Love You, You Love Me” when the lawsuit resumes down the road.
You can probably bet the light at the end of the tunnel of this Italian legal drama will put some extra pep in the step of Big Red when he takes the field for the Hilltoppers’ opener at Wisconsin later this year.