WASHINGTON (CN) – A “well-known feminist activist and author” who served on the board of directors of Men Can Stop Rape Inc. says the group owes him money for devising its “My Strength is Not for Hurting” media campaign. John Stoltenberg says he designed several media campaigns for the group, but it fell behind and ultimately stopped paying him royalties.
In his Superior Court complaint, Stoltenberg describes himself as “a well-known feminist activist and author and communications professional with widely recognized skills and expertise in the areas of gender relations and sexual-assault prevention.”
He says he “first conceived of a media campaign for Men Can Stop Rape based on the theme ‘My Strength Is Not for Hurting’ in 1999, while he was a member of the MCSR Board of Directors.” In succeeding years, he says, this media campaign, and others he developer “from his original communications theory and methodology … became the signature component of MCSR’s public-service messaging.”
He says under a 2004 agreement, “MCSR agreed to pay Stoltenberg 12.5 percent of gross revenues generated by sales and/or licensing of the media materials he creative-directed.”
Stoltenberg says MCSR has used his work for clients that include the Virginia Department of Health, the D.C. Department of Health and the South African group Engender Health.
MCSR is an “international organization that mobilizes men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women,” according to the complaint.
Since 1999, Stoltenberg says, “For each new licensing agreement MCSR entered into with a client, Stoltenberg creative-directed customized media materials, including posters, outdoor billboards, bus ads, radio and television public service announcements, still and animated movie-theater ads, and collateral advertising materials.”
He claims that a campaign he engineered for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault won a public relations award, and another campaign was launched worldwide by the Pentagon’s sexual assault prevention and response office.
Stoltenberg says that by September 2009 Men Can Stop Rape had fallen so far behind in his royalty payments that they agreed it would make “monthly catch-up payments” of $1,000, along with his royalties.
He claims MCSR made its monthly catch-up payments, but withheld royalties it owed him, and new royalties owed.
And he says when MCSR terminated his contract, in April 2010, it was obligated to pay him his 12.5 percent commission for the next 3 years, and to give him quarterly accountings.
He says MCSR “expressly repudiated its obligations to make ongoing royalty payments” in a February letter this year.
He seeks an accounting, royalties, and damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
Stoltenberg is represented by Eli Guiterman, with Li, Latsey and Guiterman.