Much has been made of the "controversy" surrounding Rihanna's new bondage-happy, media-taunting "S&M" video and how its so-called graphic content has resulted in the music video being "banned" in 11 unspecified countries. The video's alleged banishment is actually overshadowing another, more lawsuit-worthy controversy: According to Radar Online, Rihanna's "S&M" video and its director Melina Matsoukas pretty much visually plagiarized pictures that photographer David LaChapelle took for Italian Vogue. The similarities weren't lost on LaChapelle, who tweeted (and then deleted) to Rihanna and Perez Hilton, who cameos in the video, "The next time you make a David LaChapelle music video you should probably hire David LaChapelle."
This isn't the first time Matsoukas has been accused of unoriginality and stylistically stealing from another artist for a Rihanna video: In February 2010, Matsoukas took some heat for ripping off M.I.A.'s "Boyz" for Rihanna's "Rude Boy" video. Looking at the side-by-side comparisons over at Radar Online, it's apparent that the similarities between LaChapelle photos and Rihanna's "S&M" are too striking to be coincidental; it's as if Matsoukas did a reenactment of LaChapelle's photos. Even the mise-en-scene of each photograph is matched up perfectly with each "S&M" still. Like the shot of Rihanna with a latex hood around her head pouring heart-shaped candy in her mouth, a direct knock-off of a similar LaChapelle photo of a woman with a latex mask on and a heart-shaped candy on her tongue. And the similarities don't end there.
[Left photos: David LaChapelle]
- Melina Matsoukas