The Duluth Trading Company has been court-ordered to publicly apologize to Don Henley after advertising a t-shirt using the name of the Eagles founder without his permission. As far as shirts go, it’s about as inoffensive as can be, but it’s still illegal to co-opt a celebrity’s name without their permission, and Henley is notoriously defensive of his personal brand. The Wisconsin-based clothing company apologized in an open letter to Henley and made a donation to the Walden Woods Project as compensation at Henley’s request. Read the company’s open letter below.
To our customers, friends, and Don Henley:
As many of you know, Duluth prides itself on not taking itself too seriously and this culture is often seen in our advertising, which we try and keep fresh, interesting, and funny. Unfortunately, we pushed the advertising envelope too far and distributed an advertisement promoting our line of Henley shirts that invoked American recording artist Don Henley’s name without his permission.
Mr. Henley has long been an advocate of artists’ rights and he brought his objections to our attention. We appreciate and respect what Mr. Henley has meant to music and we now see that our use of his name and an Eagles’ song title in our advertisement was inappropriate. For that we are deeply regretful and we apologize, not just to Mr. Henley, but to anyone else who took offense. We have learned a valuable lesson and thank Mr. Henley for helping us appreciate the importance that he and other artists place in their publicity rights.
We have, at Mr. Henley’s request, also made a monetary payment to be directed to the Walden Woods Project, in recognition of the 25th Anniversary of its founding, to resolve this matter.
Very truly yours,
DULUTH TRADING COMPANY