Why Did Lids Employee Refuse to Create a Customized Donald Trump Parody Cap?

Apr 29, 2016
9:53 AM

UPDATE, May 2: Looks like Lids changed its mind and made the cap:


The following tweet from Jerónimo Saldaña got our attention yesterday. In fact, it got the attention of many tuiteros. According to Jerónimo, he tried to get a customized Donald Trump parody cap made at a local Lids story in Manhattan, but an employee at the store refused to create it:

We reached out to Saldaña last night for more details. This is what he told us:

Around 3pm on Thursday, I went to the Latino Rebels Facebook page and printed out the picture of the Make America Mexico Again hat the group posted. I walked over to the Lids store inside the Manhattan Mall. I then asked one the employees if he could make me the a hat. I showed him the picture and he said he couldn’t make it because it was a copyright violation. That’s not possible, I said. This isn’t Trump’s slogan, it’s satire that I saw online. He then said it’s Lids company policy not to make any hats with the “Make America American Great Again” slogan. I pointed out that it wasn’t the slogan. I even offered to change the font so it wouldn’t resemble the Trump hat. He again said it was company policy not to make any hat with the phrase Make America Great again. I shook my head and left.

After talking with Saldaña, we checked Lids’ custom hat policy and its design restrictions:

LIDS reserves the right to decline an order containing vulgar, profane or inappropriate material.

We cannot produce any logo that is trademarked or under copyright.

We will not produce items that include names, products, images, text/slogans, or designs without written permission from the owner.

Due to licensing and copyright laws, LIDS reserves the right to limit certain customization requests. Each professional league has its own licensing company that holds the exclusive, worldwide right to use, license and sublicense the team names and logos as well as the names, numbers, nicknames, likenesses, signatures and more of every athlete in their union. As an authorized dealer lids.com uses these logos only to describe and advertise the related merchandise. We are not allowed to customize any item in a manner that would infringe on these exclusive rights.

We are not authorized to use any mascot logo in connection with any college or university or any professional sports team. Therefore, we will not produce orders that contain any such logo in connection with a team name, slogan, and/or colors, or otherwise uses a mascot graphic in a team context. These orders may only be produced with the express written consent of the respective institution and/or its authorized representative.

We also emailed Lids for comment, since questioning the parody hat as being a “copyright violation” is a valid one. (Trump’s own page doesn’t even list the “Make America Great Again” with a trademark.) As of this posting, we have yet to receive a response from Lids.

Nonetheless, we do wonder if Lids actually understands the role of parody and copyright.

As for Saldaña, he left us with this: “Sad thing is I would have gladly paid up to $100 for that hat!”

Maybe Saldaña has to go to a local kiosk, like the one that produced the original parody hat in the first place: