The Battle Over Meatball The Bear's Twitter Account Gets Nasty
Who knew that the battle over a wild animal's Twitter account could get so heated?
Meatball the black bear is famous for getting caught eating frozen Costco meatballs from a freezer in Glendale and taking dips in La Crescenta pools. But he's also known for his prolific Twitter account that up until now has been helmed by Sarah Aujero.
Before Aujero created the handle @TheGlendaleBear, Meatball was a facing a death sentence. But she campaigned for the bear to get relocated to an animal shelter, creating a website to sell merchandise to fundraise and copyrighting the bear's name. A shelter named Lions, Tigers & Bears took him in, and they've been campaigning—with the help of Aujero—to build a habitat for him.
But now the animal sanctuary is going after Aujero, demanding that she sign over all the legal rights to the bear's name and stop tweeting, according to the Los Angeles Times. The group's lawyers sent over a cease-and-desist letter to Aujero, but so far she has refused to give up any rights, though she said that the group was welcome to use the bear's name for fundraising efforts.
That wasn't good enough. Lions, Tigers & Bears let Aujero know that she was no longer welcomed on sanctuary property. Ouch. How'd it get so ugly? The fight started when Aujero said that she wanted to write a children's book about Meatball and donate part of the proceeds to Meatball's new home. The sanctuary said it already had a donor who wanted to write a book and donate 100% of the proceeds.
Lions, Tigers & Bears founder Bobbi Brink told the Times that the sanctuary is just trying to protect the bear, “It is our mission to protect animals from exploitation."
Aujero says she doesn't make a penny off of the bear, but just wants to help him as she has all along. She told the Times, "I feel like I’m being bullied a little bit."
She's been asking for help on Twitter:
Lots libelous statements floating around. To date, I (Sarah) have never asked for anything but to be included in all things Meatball.— Meatball The Bear (@TheGlendaleBear) November 11, 2013
Thoughts? Join the letter writing campaign & email me <firstname.lastname@example.org> or the sanctuary <email@example.com>— Meatball The Bear (@TheGlendaleBear) November 11, 2013