Monday, February 14, 2011

David LaChapelle Sues Rihanna Over 'S&M' Video

Famed and legendary fashion photographer David LaChapelle's images are awe-inspiring -- so much so that Miss Fenty's video for "S&M", which was directed by Melina Matsoukas, "borrowed" several of the photographer's works. Today, he filed a lawsuit against Miss Fenty.
LaChapelle, who has shot celebrities for magazines such as Rolling Stone, GQ and Vanity Fair, said "the music video is directly derived from and substantially similar to the LaChapelle works." Rihanna, 22, has sold over 25 million albums worldwide and dominated music charts in the U.S. with singles such as "Umbrella" and "What's my name." The single "S&M", however, has fizzled on the charts, and the video has been banned in some countries for its sexual content. In the suit, LaChapelle said Rihanna had appropriated eight of his images into the video, such as a shot where she is shown in profile against a blue background with a piece of candy on her tongue. LaChapelle said Rihanna's video copied the "composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting" of his work.
Uh-oh, is Miss Fenty going to jail? Probably not. In the lawsuit, David, who's seeking more than $4 million in damages, says Melina was "asked by Rihanna or persons acting on her behalf to create a LaChapelle-esque music video." He says "prior to the hiring of Matsoukas, another well-known director was asked to create a LaChapelle-esque inspired music video for Rihanna and that director rejected the offer" and "the storyboards used for the Music Video consisted of or contained prints of the LaChapelle Works or other LaChapelle photographs." Uh-oh! Pay up, Miss Fenty!

Here's David's Exhibit No. 1, the video.

Exhibit No. 2, some screen grabs alongside his photos (right).

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