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Leo Burnett Malaysia issues demand letter following plagiarism claim

Petronas' Rubber Boy film

Leo Burnett Malaysia has issued a statement about the release of a demand letter to Tan Chui Mui and Da Huang Pictures, who has claimed that the agency had plagiarised her work.

The agency has sent a letter asking for the statements to be retracted from social media that Leo Burnett and its staff used ideas by Tan Chui Mui in a campaign for Petronas around Chinese New Year called ‘Rubber Boy’.

The filmmaker claims that elements of the film were her ideas from meetings in 2014 and should not have been used in the final piece of work.

However, Leo Burnett today said: “Leo Burnett reiterates that the key elements including the message, the characters, the setting in the rubber estate and the emotions, are very much a part of the agency script, which was shared with three directors in 2014 including Da Huang. Neither Tan Chui Mu nor Da Huang Pictures furnished those key elements.”

The argument has largely been played out online in a series of Facebook posts by Tan Chui Mui and Leo Burnett creative director James Yap and business director Eswara Van Sharma.

The film won a film craft award at this year’s Cannes Lions and the claims have raised a debate online across the social media posts about plagiarism and creative work, particularly when it is tough to distinguish where ideas from each parties start and end.

It is not yet known whether Tan Chui Mui will retract the statements or push forward with the claims. In earlier posts she has said that she is not highlighting the issue for financial gain but to better the creative industry.