On April 1, the weekly Washington City Paper published a parody of the site. Dubbed "Huffington City Paper," the page offered stories like "Boring Sex Shop Opens in Boring Alexandria," "Ted Stevens Can Go Back To Enjoying Luxury Items" and "House-Flippers Succeeding in This Market?"
Yesterday, a Huffington Post representative requested that the paper remove the page from its archive. The representative seemed especially aggrieved by the link to the real site, according to editor Erik Wemple. "The official was perturbed that the parody page that virtually no one has clicked on since April Fool's contains a link to the Huffington Post site," Wemple writes. "That bears repeating: The Huffington Post scolded us for linking to them."
Now, anyone can ask another publication to remove a link, and making such a request is a far cry from launching litigation. In fact, it would be shocking if the matter lands in court; surely someone at the Huffington Post will realize just how bad the company would look in a lawsuit. Besides, the only possible claim the Huffington Post could make would be that the page and link violates its trademark. And trademark infringement actions stemming from parodies rarely, if ever, get very far.
But this particular complaint doesn't seem to be driven by a need to protect the Huffington Post trademark. Wemple points out that the request didn't come until this week -- more than two months after the site went live. But something new did occur this week: On Tuesday, the Washington City Paper ran a column condemning the Huffington Post for objectifying women by running captions like "Megan Fox Shows A Lot Of Leg At 'Transformers' Premiere."
The Washington City Paper received a request to take down the parody the next day.