LONDON: The Franklin Mint has been working with California-based crisis PR firm Sitrick & Company in its lawsuit against the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial fund.
In 1998, the Memorial fund sued the Franklin Mint over its selling of a "limited edition collectors plate," which featured a likeness of the late Princess of Wales. The fund argued that the Mint did not have the right use Diana's image; however, a court threw out the case last November. Subsequent to the dismissal, the Franklin Mint brought a malicious prosecution lawsuit against the fund.
Although the initial battle took place in the courtroom, this time around both sides are in a pitched PR battle that has garnered attention on both sides of the Atlantic.
The fund turned up the public heat on the Franklin Mint last week by stating that it had to freeze grants worth millions of dollars earmarked for several popular charities, including those for land mine victims, the homeless, and families of prisoners.
Following that announcement, several directors and spokespeople for the various charities that are in line to get monies from the fund were quoted lamenting the organizations' potentially cash-strapped situation.
Nevertheless, the Franklin Mint said that money already earmarked for charity is not
"What the Memorial fund was doing was a rather slick PR maneuver," said Allan Mayer, an executive at Sitrick, which has been advising the Franklin Mint since the original suit. "Yet as the story has evolved, people are now realizing what the fund did was not at all necessary, but instead a very cynical tactic."
In a statement on Tuesday, the Franklin Mint said it would not seek to obtain money reserved for charities and implored the fund to release the "already promised grants."