Italian artist threatens legal action against Cardi B over Marge Simpson Halloween costume

Cardi B  (Getty Images for Fashion Nova)
Cardi B (Getty Images for Fashion Nova)

An Italian artist has called Cardi B out for recreating his Marge Simpson artwork in a Halloween Instagram post “without any authorisation”.

On 31 October, Cardi B – real name Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar – revealed her Halloween look on Instagram in a slideshow.

The photographs included a picture of herself as the iconic TV character wearing a 1995 Thierry Mugler black dress, and the artwork that inspired her look.

The artwork belongs to aleXsandro Palombo and was created in 2013 as part of his “Marge Simpson Style Icon” series. It was first published by Vogue UK.

While the American rapper credited Mugler in her caption, Palombo’s contribution was not highlighted in Cardi B’s post.

On Saturday 26 November, Palombo wrote on Instagram: “Cardi B and her collaborators have used my artwork without any authorisation, 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 characterised my works.”

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He also said that he had previously written to Cardi B and her collaborators, including her stylist Kollin Carter and photographer Jora Frantzis, to understand why he hadn’t been contacted for permission to use his work.

“Still no answer,” he added.

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The Independent has reached out to Cardi B, Frantzis, and Carter for comment.

His lawyer Claudio Volpi told Artnet News: “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 also said his client had only received a response from Frantzis, claiming she wasn’t “aware there was an artist behind this image” but that she would be “happy to add the credits”.

When Palombo requested that Cardi B, and everyone else involved in creating her look, share a “remedial” post with due credit to him, Volpi claimed that the artist didn’t hear back.

Neither Frantzis’ nor Carter’s Instagram post include credits to Palombo at the time of writing.

Volpi told Artnet News that he has sent a formal notice to Cardi B, Frantzis, and Carter, as well as Atlantic Records’ chairperson Craig Kallman, insisting that they share a follow-up post within seven days of receipt.

If they fail to comply, Volpi said they would initiate legal action against the “WAP” singer.

Volpi’s artwork is inspired by a photo of a model wearing the bottom-bearing Mugler dress.

For the Vogue series, Palombo said he styled Marge in “dresses [that] really changed the course of the history of costume”.

“We may not consider these clothes as art, but the aesthetic vision that they emanate has played an important role in giving strength to the path of emancipation of women since 1900,” he added.