A party thrown by Paul Frank Industries has outraged many in Indian country for its flippant use of Native imagery and its reinforcement of old stereotypes that continue to vex Natives today. Images on t-shirts of the brand’s mascot, Julius the Monkey, wearing a feather headdress have also struck many American Indians as offensive.
Today, ICTMN received the following statement from Paul Frank Sunich:
My name is Paul Frank Sunich. I am the creator of Julius the Monkey and was the co-founder of Paul Frank Industries, the company that created the Paul Frank Brand.
I left Paul Frank Industries in 2005 to start my own company called Park La Fun. Since then, I have had no ties to my former company.
I am saddened and disappointed by the recent news involving the Paul Frank Industries brand and how the new owners are using my creation, Julius the Monkey.
To the extent that anyone associates me with this unfortunate event or other ongoing use of other characters I had created for that brand, I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight. As I have mentioned, I am no longer in any way involved with that company. Please do not confuse my past involvement in the Paul Frank Industries brand with the actions of the current owners.
My goal in life has always been to make art that will make people happy and that is still my desire with my new company, Park La Fun. It has always been my hope and desire that my former company would use the characters left behind for that same purpose. Unfortunately, though, that is not something I can control.
Still your friend,