In a lawsuit made public on Monday, LaChapelle called the video “substantially similar” to his eight examples of his work — a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by legions of his fans, fashion connoisseurs, and, well, LaChapelle himself, who tweeted on the day of the video’s release: “The next time you make a David LaChapelle music video you should probably hire David LaChapelle.” (The tweet was subsequently deleted.)
LaChapelle said Rihanna’s video copied the “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting” of his work.
He is suing for unspecified damages. A spokeswoman for Rihanna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While the lawsuit isn’t great news for Rihanna, it will, at the very least, drum up some press for a single which has (in Reuters’ words) “fizzled on the charts.” But the lawsuit may inspire others. We’ve received two emails about a 19-year-old photographer named Philipp Paulus whose 2010 editorial Paperworld also appears to have inspired her video. A side by side of the images is below, as is a behind-the-scenes video from his shoot.