Rihanna Sued by Photographer David LaChapelle Over ‘S&M’ Video


Rihanna is being taken to court by famed photographer David LaChapelle, who claims the pop superstar ripped off his iconic snapshots in her video for “S&M.”

LaChapelle, known for his doll-like portraits of everyone from Lil’ Kim to Eminem, has filed a lawsuit against the Bajan songstress for replicating approximately eight of his images in the Melina-directed clip.

He claims that “the music video is directly derived from and substantially similar to the LaChapelle works,” and that it copied the “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe, and lighting” of some of his work. The lawsuit points to a specific image of Rihanna against a blue background with a piece of candy on her tongue.

The suit seeks unspecified damages. Meanwhile, the “S&M” video has racked up over 11.5 million views on YouTube since its debut on January 31.

David LaChapelle Photo

David LaChapelle alleges that Rihanna copied this image, among others.

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    Where the riherpes stans? i thought your girl was original? Your Girl Stay Lying!


  2. Chris C.

    Obviously someone is money hungry. I guess after 1 person wear a pink cap that ALMOST looks like another persons pink cap you can sue.


  3. Brionna

    If it isn’t one thing its another


  4. Chris C.

    @RIHANNA IS A FRAUD — NOTHNING is “Original” someone has always done it before.


  5. TeeG

    its not just the pink cap, its the ENTIRE video! LMAO i saw side by side stills of each and….yeah #COPYCAT


  6. Bianca

    He’s not money hungry. There’s a shit load of other images that prove clear plagiarism.


  7. ChokLitFactory

    You can get sued for using similar images in a music video?? Wait…why has this never happened before? The industry is one big recycling machine! Was Rihanna & co. supposed to cite Dave Chappelle in the non-existent credits? I don’t understand…somebody is salty and bored.


  8. Orlando

    well @ least rihanna looks way better then dat other bezzy lmao, plus i bet it wasnt all rihanna’s doing cuz she has all those people that think of how 2 do the video, its alot. so the people that put the video 2gether blam it on them 2


  9. Yeah

    ONLY HO IN THE WORLD!!!!!!! <333 :)


  10. meme

    ive lost so much respect for lachapelle after this. U wad think an artist as fluencial as he would be flattered that other artist as inspired by his work. Do u kno how many photogs and artist i kno personally that use his work as reference and inspiration for their own projects….but i guess becuz its rihanna she has to be sued. F him, im buring my big lachapelle book.


    josh Reply:

    inspired is one thing…
    flat out ripping off direct images from another artist isn’t being “inspired” … it’s stealing.


  11. MJ

    i just wanna point this out therundown and a bunch of others got a hold of this over a week ago, so this is pretty much old news


  12. GRRRR

    This guy’s definitely money hungry.

    @Chris C. It looks like to me that what you’re trying to say is NOBODY IS ORIGINAL. Are you able to define the term inspiration?

    It’s not a case of ripping artists off, and don’t suck Rihanna into this. The video was directed by Melina so you should be contacting her for comment.


  13. dee dee

    Because she didn’t direct the vid, its not really her fault, if its her vision, she still can’t be left accountable for something that wasn’t actually done by herself

    On another hand I agree with with meme, there is a HIGH possibility that it was more inspiration rather than copying…if its obvious why would someone put it off as their own


  14. Rihannastann!

    Lol..he should be honored!lol…he worked with her before..honestly I hope he loses this case..I’m guessing this gave him a little recognition in which he needed from the younger generation..and shout out to the haters that swarmed in here faster than the navy could!lmao ..That Rihanna Reign Ain’t gun Let Up! the director of the video must have been paying homage who knows..but w.e ,y’all talk all this shit about her and she still slays!kill yourselves cornballs! ;-P


  15. Rihannastann!

    I agree with @dee dee I doubt whether sum1 that’s so callin biting ideas would make it soooo obvious and copy the whole thing!like plz shut up dum fukx!


  16. sock it 2 me

    Leave it to a hater to be the first one to comment and care enough to change their name after rihanna…lmfaooo , smh


  17. ME

    @meme its outright theft, no crediting at all. At least when Kanye west does it he shouts them out a zillion times, hes never had these kinds of issues.


  18. k.west

    lachapelle is influential, but in that video he wasn’t only an influence, he was plagiarized! he has the right to protect his art, rihanna should have been professional and contact him instead of using his work without consent


  19. StarsRblind

    There were other pictures, not just that one. Stop defending her before you know the whole story. That stuff actually takes alot of thought and means alot to an artist, but Rihanna has nothing to do with it, considering she doesn’t contribute artistically to anything she does. I blame the director she keeps using because in Rude Boy she also copied a scene from a Grace Jones video.
    P. S. He’s a famous photographer, he has money, suing is just the legal way if fighting over it, and it is her video, no matter how ignorant to the fact she is.


  20. Yeah

    I wonder how Rihanna celebrated that GRAMMY she won last night…hmmm :P


  21. D.KING

    That’s messed up she was inspired by his concept. That’s more of a complimet rather than an opportunity to sue someone for money smh. That Rihanna reign still won’t let up though!


  22. zoocoos

    That Rihanna reign of copying??? Just like she copied most of Kelis’ Fourth of July video for her Only Girl video, except hers was so bad of a ripoff….
    It’s more appropriate to say that she is using other artists’ ideas and intellectual properties to make her money…


  23. lukas

    he should be honored but he should also get credit where credit is due. he really should be suing the director though, rihanna doesn’t decide anything in her career.


  24. Mr Xclusive

    the video does look copied tho


  25. Neickha

    The only reason he’s suing is because no one asked permission.. that’s all… Whether intentional or Not.. That sucks though…


  26. StarsRblind

    Only an unoriginal person would say someone should be flattered that someone’s copying them. Only in certain situations and if you get credit. Don’t copy my tattoos, hairstyles, or swag. Get your own or accept the lame that you are. Matter of fact, don’t tell somebody a joke I told without saying that bitch said it. It’s even worse for him because that’s how he makes his living.


  27. CheChilia

    I’m a Rih fan but this is disappointing :( smh


  28. eurogirl

    Love David LaChapelle works. He’s a legend in art photography. He did the famous 2pac bathtub photo where pac is laying in the bathtub with foam over his upperbody and thuglife tatoo. I still have the poster. LaChapelle did many more photo’s of others. He also directs video several for Xtina like Dirrty. And Jennifer Lopez I’m Glad. Kelis, Eve and Gwen Stefani etc. He also is a film maker. Krumped and Rize documentary about the krumping dancestyle is his.
    The guy’s art is awesome and he should get his money and be credited becuz almost everything from his art is copied in video of Rihanna. And alot of you don’t seem to know that the day the video came out mtv had an article interviewing Perez Hilton. And Perez said that both Rihanna and Melina directed the video. And and knew what she wanted the video to look like. Go to mtv website and check it out. dont talk about stuff that you dont seem to do your background of. Some of you are talking s***!


  29. D-Man

    Quit jumping to her side. If you’re going to rip someone off, do it with permission. It doesn’t have anything to do with him being against someone who is inspired. If somebody switched the roles of Unfaithful’s lyrics and it sold millions without an ounce of credit being given to her camp, would you say “oh its okay, they’re just inspired and that’s flattering.”? I doubt it. Inspiration is good, but you have to settle the legal matters before you blatantly steal somebody’s work. That’s how it goes. He’s got every right to sue her ass.


  30. From Tokyo

    It was only a matter of time.


  31. Yeah

    he won’t win because he’s suing the wrong person LMAO try the director and her pplz not Rihanna, she had nothing to do with it!! :P



  32. babygirl

    i agree with Lachapelle


  33. Jordan Gabriel

    GOOD! The first time I watched S&M I thought it looked like a cheap David LaChapelle immitation. I’m glad he is waking up. I can only feel pity when I watch that video and the girl in it.


  34. disboiNaz

    SHUT THE FUCK UP…. this shit go HAM IM LOVING IT its funny its LYRICALLY Correct!!! Its The TRUE QUEEN she just showin you YUNG lil money HOES how easy it is to thro sum nursery rhymes together and make that shit bang. The difference is She(Kim) doing it better and going HARD whike she do it…. not to mention Kims shit is Believable!!! Yall Faggs & haggs musta(must have) forgot this bitch(QB)is a CHAMELEON. Just cause you rap fast doesnt mean your saying anything(niki). once you slow it up u have Meaningless things like Hang it up FlatScreen and growl growl like a dungeon dragon???? Im turning 30 this year so I imagine Im old cause ANYTHING that Nina Minak does is GARBAGE with all caps!!…but I still Wouldnt wish Nancy Minach and ALL HER STANS to sale to the Center of the Earth for some Earthly Rehab!!!


  35. ARJ

    whats done is done, whatever they did got people talking. if anything, it added a layer of interest to the song. even if it is negative. here we are.. the song in itself is average


  36. Renee

    I have seen artists copy many concepts from paintings to movie scenes and other musicians past works. Don’t see them coming out wanting to sue. Kanye did a painting similar to Da Vinci’s work, Christina and Gaga have done stuff similar in early Madonna videos, and so on and so forth. Nothing new under the sun. Shouldn’t all of the music industry be sue by now?


  37. CSA

    Rather than trying to argue with all the people on the “copycat” side of the argument, I’ll simply leave you with a quote.

    “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
    -Jim Jarmusch

    If LaChapelle had somehow managed to patent his ideas for these photographs then his argument might have a little more to back it up but the fact is that it is very hard to copyright an idea. In the 21st century it is very hard to come up with absolutely original ideas and the main theme in Rihanna’s video was not “stealing someone’s ideas” and rather “the media is my bitch”.


  38. BantuJones

    Look ppl, Rihanna didint make the video, Melina did so Melina should get sued!


  39. Jay

    Guys, Rihanna put out the video under her name. Obviously he’s not just sueing her directly, he’s suing everyone involved with the video, as he should, it was a huge rip off of his work.



  40. maya

    Rihanna is ALWAYS copying people…


  41. Chris C.

    @CSA i wish there was a like button on here…that quote was pure greatness


  42. kiki

    Rihanna be getting exposure for apparent lesbo thing.. to too much showing on Xfactor.. to S&M and now this, I don’t even listen to her like that anymore but she obviously doing something right in her career she’s at her peak. Although I doubt LaChappelle will win even though he is amzing.


  43. Trac_E

    Herpes stealing whore.


  44. Brixonne

    Yeah where are the Rih Stans.. I see they’re not defending… Wheres the fag onlyboy? ahahahahahaahs


  45. kiki

    take this chick to court. dont like the bitch anywayz


  46. Purdyboi1

    Why is he suing Rihanna when she didnt direct the video? Sue the director who come up with the ideas and the concepts. Dave LaChapelle has great photos, but come on, reach out for an apology. Suing for money proves exactly what in this scenerio?


  47. aa




  48. beth

    Anyone looking at David LaChapelle’s photographs can see that they are inspired by the great, late, legendary French Vogue photographer Guy Bourdin.


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