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Stephen Fry backs The Hobbit pub's legal battle

Published: 9:56AM Wednesday March 14, 2012 Source: ONE News

British actor Stephen Fry has come out in support of a Tolkien-themed pub in England being forced to change its name by a Hollywood production company.

The Hobbit pub, which has held the name for more than 20 years, has been given until the end of May to remove all references to the Tolkien novel by the Saul Zaentz Company.

Fry, in response to a Twitter account gaining support for the pub, tweeted: "Honestly, @savethehobbit, sometimes I'm ashamed of the business I'm in. What pointless, self-defeating bullying."

The actor has been in New Zealand recently to film scenes for The Hobbit, in which he plays the Master of Laketown.

The California based movie production company owns the film, stage and merchandising rights to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit.

Landlady of the Southampton pub, Stella Roberts, said she is stunned by the legal action and does not have the money to take on the movie producing giant.

"We just haven't got the resources to fight it. How can I take on a multi-million pound power?" Roberts said.

"It's not just a case of changing the name - it's all the merchandise, artwork and even the pub sign."

In November last year Saul Zaentz Company ordered another Tolkien-themed food establishment, the Hungry Hobbit sandwich bar in Birmingham, to phase out any references to the book because it was not licensed to use them.

The Hungry Hobbit is on the same road Tolkien grew up on.

The first installment of The Hobbit, directed by Peter Jackson, is due out in December this year and part two is due in theatres a year later.