04/24/2013 10:09 am ET Updated Apr 24, 2013

White House Correspondents' Dinner Objects To Celebrity Gifting Suite


Washington, D.C.'s epic meeting with Hollywood at the White House Correspondents' Dinner this Saturday caused some legal drama in recent days.

The WHCD has become a marquee event for celebrities in recent years, with more and more Hollywood stars turning up to hear President Obama make relatively obscure jokes about budget battles and MSNBC. Even people like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan have attended (both in the company of Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.) This year, the E! network is hosting a red carpet special for the ceremony for the first time ever — as sure a sign as any that the event is on the map.

Politico reported Tuesday that the White House Correspondents' Association, which is led by Fox News' Ed Henry, threatened legal action against public relations firm GBK for promoting "a gifting suite" in association with the dinner. One email designated the event — which will be handing out free swag — as the "GBK & The Creative Coalition White House Correspondence [sic] Weekend Gift Lounge." It's the kind of thing Los Angeles firms do all the time for glitzy awards shows. The WHCA, though, apparently wanted to nip the whole thing in the bud.

WHCA lawyer George A. Lehner penned a four-page letter, obtained by Politico, demanding that GBK rectify the "unauthorized use" of the dinner's trademark and the name of the dinner and the WHCA.

Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk told The Hollywood Reporter that the suite is actually connected to the group's Art Advocacy Day, and not the WHCD.

GBK's CEO Gavin Keilly apologized in a letter to Henry, explaining that the firm has done "similar lounges" during the weekend of other high-profile events. He noted that Lehner "seems to be satisfied" with the steps GBK has taken to remedy the situation.

Correction: An earlier version of this piece reported that the Creative Coalition had been threatened with legal action. In fact, only GBK Productions was threatened.