“Gerry the Grinch” Website Receives Cease-and-Desist Letter

The anonymous owner of GerryLenfest.com agrees to shut down.

It would appear the fake Gerry Lenfest has the real Gerry Lenfest’s attention.

In the aftermath of the layoffs at Philadelphia Media Network — which owns the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com — an anonymous critic created the “Gerry the Grinch” Twitter account, and posted longer-form missives at GerryLenfest.com, both criticizing (and sometimes pleading with) Lenfest for the job reductions. Now a lawyer from PMN has sent the site’s owner a cease-and-desist letter, demanding that website’s domain name be transferred to the ownership of Lenfest himself.

The letter was posted Thursday afternoon at the Twitter account.

“As the publisher of news and information, PMN respects the rights of individuals to express their views, opinions and creativity,” PMN attorney Suzanne Parillo wrote. “We respect and defend fair use, including works of parody as works of individual expression. Those concepts, however, do not extend to the use of Mr. Lenfest’s name in a domain name for the Site or to the use of his common law trademark rights for the purpose of disparaging his name and reputation.”

She set a deadline of 3 p.m. Tuesday for a response.

The anonymous “Grinch” sent an email to Philly Mag on Thursday afternoon, however, saying he’d surrender the website.

“While we have no doubt our many fans will volunteer donations to the Grinch’s legal fund, that won’t be necessary,” the author wrote. “A protracted legal situation would only allow Mr. Lenfest to further deplete PMN resources. Of course, we are likely more concerned than he is about that. But it is best for the employees, the newspapers and website, and the community, that we stop using GerryLenfest.com.”

The anonymous critic added, however, that he would ramp up posting on the @GerrytheGrinch Twitter account.

See the full PMN letter below.

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.