Cardi B Accused of Ripping Off Artist for Her Marge Simpson Halloween Costume

Katja Ogrin/Redferns
Katja Ogrin/Redferns

Italian pop artist aleXsandro Palombo is accusing rapper and pop icon Cardi B of ripping off his work without credit after the latter posted an image of her Halloween costume, in which she’s dressed as Marge Simpson wearing Thierry Mugler, on Instagram, according to Artnet.

Cardi B’s high-fashion turn as the iconic Simpsons matriarch is drawn directly from an illustrated series of Marge wearing iconic dresses that Palombo created in 2013 and debuted in Vogue UK, the artist is claiming through his lawyer, Claudio Volpi. The Daily Beast reached out to Vogue UK and Volpi’s Milan-based firm, Studio Legale Barberi e Volpi Associati, for comment.

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“Cardi B and her collaborators have used my artwork without any authorization, debasing its original meaning and only to amplify their image with a clear commercial purpose that has nothing to do with that path of social awareness that has always characterized my works,” Palombo said in a statement. “Dear Mrs Cardi B, based on your reasoning, shall everyone illegally download your music?” the artist added.

The Mugler gown worn by Cardi B for her costume is similar to another attention-grabbing “Venus” Mugler piece worn by the rapper for the 2019 Grammys, and Cardi B has also name-checked Mugler in her lyrics, namely for the 2021 Normani collaboration “Wild Side” (“come take me out this Mugler”).

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Palombo has not yet taken legal action against Cardi B or her team, but could pursue compensation if his formal request for reconciliatory acknowledgement of his work is not met, Volpi said.

“Cardi B has illegitimately appropriated the work of aleXsandro Palombo for mere business purposes in defiance of the most elementary rules on copyright and Instagram policies, with the consequent serious risks, both of compensation and of discredit for her public image,” Volpi said in a statement to Artnet.

According to Volpi, via Palombo’s publicist, the artist reached out to Jora Frantzis, the photographer who captured the images of Cardi B in her costume, and received a response from Frantzis that she had not been “aware there was an artist behind this image previously” and that she’d be “happy to add the credits”—as of Monday, Frantzis’s Instagram post of the costumed rapper does not include mention of Palombo.

Palombo also reached out to Atlantic Records and Kollin Carter, Cardi B’s stylist, in an attempt to settle the matter by having all creatives involved in the shoot publish “remedial” Instagrams crediting him, but has not yet received a response, according to Volpi.

“After several communication from our press office, at this day, Mrs. Cardi B, Jora Frantzis and Kollin Carter still haven’t put credits on the post where they published artist aleXsandro Palombo’s artwork ‘Marge Simpson Style Icon’ in Thierry Mugler,” a representative for aleXsandro Palombo told The Daily Beast on Monday. “This omission violates also Meta/Instagram policy on copyright and intellectual property.”

The Daily Beast reached out to Atlantic Records, Carter and Cardi B, given name Belcalis Almánzar, for comment.

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