Originally published August 12, 1996
When is your name not your name? Apparently when you use it to poke fun at George magazine.
For several months, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch books editor George Myers Jr. has produced an online magazine called “George Jr.,” which spoofs the work of the world’s most famous junior, John Kennedy Jr.
A sampling of recent stories in Kennedy’s George: “Seeking the Senate on $5 a Day”; “The Newt Frontier”; and “Babe in the Woods.” And from Myers’ George Jr.: “We the Peephole”; “American Geisha in Tokyo”; and “National Public Rodeo.”
Myers, 43, churned out his Web site in relative obscurity until July 19 when Kennedy’s lawyers sent Myers a cease and desist order. “They’re concerned about me making a lot of money on the site,” says Myers, laughing. “They don’t know it’s a home page I do at home in my underwear.” Not exactly the glamourous image Kennedy’s mag sells, that’s for sure.
At first, Myers treated the legal assault with humor. “I said, ‘I’ve had this name longer than you’ve had your name!’ and sent the lawyers a list of other Georges on the Web,” he says. “What I suspect is that one of Kennedy’s lawyers fired off a form letter without thinking about it.”
Keith Estabrook, a spokesman for Kennedy, declined comment. Meanwhile, Newsweek and the Boston Globe reported on the incident and Myers’ supporters have posted searing letters of protest to George magazine’s own online readers’ forum. Myers, whose own Dispatch column about the legal spat drew hundreds of email messages, has removed the word “magazine” from his ezine, posted a disclaimer and created a link to the other George.
“They’ve gotta have a sense of humor,” he says. “or they wouldn’t have named their magazine after my dad!”
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