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Diageo threatens legal action against political group

Smirnoff owner Diageo has threatened far-right political organisation The Proud Boys with legal action over its use of a logo similar to Johnnie Walker’s Striding Man emblem.

The Striding Man logo was first commissioned in 1908 and can be seen across the brand’s whisky bottles

All-male political organisation The Proud Boys, recognised for its violence in the US, was seen in an online video by Channel 4 News promoting merchandise bearing a logo that was alike to the Striding Man logo used by Diageo-owned Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker.

The video, taken during a pro-gun demonstration in Virginia, showed a man holding up a t-shirt with the words ‘Proud Boys’ above a logo similar to Johnnie Walker’s famed symbol and the words ‘est. 2016’ – the year the political group was founded.

A Diageo spokesperson said: “We stand for inclusion and diversity and have a strong, consistent track record in promoting values of social justice and equality. This is a serious infringement of our intellectual property and we will take whatever action is required to protect the integrity of our brand.”

The Striding Man logo was first commissioned in 1908 and was designed by cartoonist Tom Brown for John Walker & Sons. It first appeared on a bottle of whisky in December that year. The icon has been refreshed a number of times since it was launched.

In 2016, Johnnie Walker unveiled a four-bottle limited release in commemoration of the Striding Man logo.

Blended Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2020. The brand marked the occasion with a new book and a number of product launches.

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