BBC accused of 'ripping off' title of book on black women for ad supporting female athletes

Posted May 28, 2019 2:22 p.m. EDT

— The BBC has been accused of plagiarizing the title of a best-selling book about young black women finding success in an advertising campaign aimed at celebrating female athletes.

Yomi Adegoke posted on Twitter that BBC Sport chose "to rip off" the title of the book "Slay in Your Lane," which she co-wrote in 2018 with Elizabeth Uviebinené.

Adegoke told CNN she trademarked the title in April 2018, which the UK Intellectual Property Office's website confirms.

"Slay In Your Lane" is described as the "black girl's bible" and an "inspirational guide to life for a generation of black British women inspired to make lemonade out of lemons, and find success in every area of their lives."

"We were really upset and honestly quite shocked," Adegoke said. "Our trademark is public, and our work comes up immediately when you search the term. Fronting it with a prominent black British woman made it feel all the more intentional, given the content of our book."

The BBC used the title for a billboard showing black sprinter Dina Asher-Smith as part of the #ChangeTheGame campaign, which started May 18 in support of the summer season of women's sport.

Adegoke said someone spotted the billboard last week and asked her if she was aware of it. She added that BBC Sport did not reply when contacted multiple times about the issue over the past few days.

"It feels as if they have intentionally attempted to present if as though we are affiliated or have sanctioned this in some way. It is erasure at its most flagrant, presented as 'inclusion,' " Adegoke said.

BBC Sport told CNN via an emailed statement: "The BBC sought legal advice before going ahead and were advised that the use of the headline "Slay In Your Lane" in our Women in Sport #ChangeTheGame marketing campaign was sufficiently far removed from the goods and services covered by the trademark registration in place."