“Nothing like a bit of controversy to kick off the week,” wrote organisers behind popular region festival Groovin The Moo this morning, and who are we to disagree?

The festival has been left red faced after their competition to design a t-shirt for sale at the festival has erupted into a plagiarism scandal and slanging match.

According to Music Feeds, the original winner of the Tee Three competition, Cory Thompson, has been stripped of his prizes including an iPad and tickets to the festival after fans pointed out his design was a rip off of a similar design posted on popular art community website Deviant Art.

“It seems we have a serious case of plagiarism in the GTM Tee Three competition,” wrote organisers today. “Thanks to all our eagle eyes out there. We are in the process of re-evaluating and will be announcing the new GTM Tee Three winner tomorrow.”

But despite the obvious similarities between the two designs, a row has erupted on the festival’s official Facebook page with users claiming to be Cory’s mother and sister threatening the promoters for publicly outing him.

“I am his Mum, and he is a brilliant designer, and it was all his own work, but “apparently” the face looks like another drawing out there,” wrote Therese Sampey.

“This is Corys one and only passion, and you could not imagine the ellation he felt when he had won, only to have it taken away from him, and also, Groovin did not even have the decency to speak to him in person, they just decided to post it on their page, and Cory had to find out through his fellow students. Thank you for just distroying a boys dream.”

“Firstly I would like to say how disgusting it is that you would write this instead of telling Cory fist hand,” wrote Jess who claims to be Cory’s sister. “Face book is the one place where people feel horrible and the highest cause for suicide.”

“If they had enough sence they wouldn’t have wrote such a horrible thing,” she wrote before posting her mobile number insisting that Groovin The Moo organisers call her or she “will take this further”.

A friend also jumped to Cory’s defense writing “do you know him fucking personally?? no, you don’t! so for all any of you know he might not have even heard or seen the work of this artist hes supposedly has copied! stfu i know him and i know he’d never copy any other artists work!”

Compare the two designs below and make up your own mind.

UPDATE: Groovin The Moo has issued a follow up statement on the controversy:

“We could not use Cory’s design as it was too close to the original artwork. In hindsight we should have contacted Cory earlier, but the story had escaped before we had a chance to do so. We have been in touch, apologised for not contacting him earlier and explained our position. We would also like to apologise publicly to Cory for not handling this better.”