After online pressure this week, the arts organization Le Mondo has agreed to modify the branding of its first building, called Mondo, to avoid further confusion with Mondo Baltimore, a film series that has a common law trademark on the name.
Le Mondo will add “Le” to the facade of its building in the 400 block of N. Howard St., and will avoid any branding that puts “Mondo” and “Baltimore” or “Bmore” directly together, said Frederick Gerriets, Le Mondo’s chief operating officer.
After multiple discussions with Mondo Baltimore, Gerriets said these changes were the right thing to do.
“I’m really excited for their success,” Gerriets said, “and if they feel that this is threatening that in any way, we don’t want that.”
The resolution satisfies Mondo Baltimore, said co-founder Mark Colegrove. He said the organization — which formed in 2009 and screens “bad movies” at the Windup Space monthly — believes the matter will soon be in the past. Colegrove said he’s optimistic but also skeptical because it took an online campaign to get Le Mondo to act.
The film series Mondo Baltimore wants Le Mondo, the under-construction arts venue downtown that has come under fire for its handling of sexual abuse allegations against one of its founders, to change its name.
“Obviously, making a public video has a tendency to expedite things, and I guess it did in this case,” Colegrove said.
On Wednesday, Gerriets wrote a message to Mondo Baltimore supporters outlining Le Mondo’s plan. The two organizations agreed to post the message on Mondo Baltimore’s Facebook page to hold Le Mondo accountable for following through on the changes, Colegrove and Gerriets said.
Colegrove said Mondo Baltimore’s issues with Le Mondo pale in comparison to the controversy from earlier this year that led Le Mondo to fire one of its founders, Ric Royer, following allegations of sexual abuse reported to the organization. After Le Mondo’s board of directors was presented with the allegations, it removed Royer from the board but rehired him as a consultant of its affiliated real estate company. (Royer denied allegations of abuse to The Sun.)
Le Mondo has since been criticized by members of the arts community online for its handling of the allegations.
Gerriets declined to discuss the Royer fallout in detail, but said Le Mondo will reach out directly to the women involved to address their criticism.
“At this point, what we need to do is not talk to The Sun, but talk to the women who were affected by this and to the community at large,” Gerriets said. “Any concerns that are lingering about our handling of our former executive director’s dismissal and our response to those allegations against him is something we should be talking about with those individuals who were most directly affected.”
A multimillion-dollar downtown project, Le Mondo’s first building at 404-406 N. Howard St. is set to open this fall, Gerriets said. The space will feature a multi-use performance venue, a bar and artist studios. A new name for the building is currently being discussed by Le Mondo’s board, he said.
By the time the building opens, the “Le” will be added to the exterior, Gerriets said. Le Mondo’s Instagram page is currently down as the organization addresses the rebrand. Gerriets expects the changes to be completed in the coming weeks.
“I don’t think that would be in the spirit of the understanding we reached to do otherwise,” Gerriets said.
Colegrove said he believes this outcome will alleviate confusion between the two organizations, which was Mondo Baltimore’s goal from the start, he said.