Citing links to a fast food chain the singer refused to license his image, but the fashion label says he won't return his fee
Morrissey, former lead singer of The Smiths and – at best – mildly amusing vegan eccentric, has entered into a war of word with a New York fashion label after posing for its new campaign. At first, affronted by the choice of photograph by the creative directors at Supreme, the Mancunian rock star then apologised to his fans after he learned of the label’s link to White Castle, a fast food retailer he referred to as the “beef sandwich pharaoh.”
The images, taken by infamous fashion photographer Terry Richardson, are the latest in a series commissioned by Supreme featuring the likes of Lou Reed and Neil Young.
Morrissey released a statement to his fans, describing his attempts to convince the New York-based fashion line not to use his image in its latest advertising campaign:
"I apologise enormously for the enfeebled photograph of me issued this week by Supreme. The shot was taken in October 2015. I considered the photograph to be fit only for a medical encyclopaedia and I pleaded with Supreme not to use it. This was before I learned that Supreme were sponsored in part by the beef sandwich pharaoh known as White Castle,” the singer wrote.
“Supreme were issued with a legal caution not to use the photograph and their fee would be returned. Evidently Supreme have ignored my lawyer. No safety within the corridors of law. Ugh,” he added.
“I offer excessive apologies for this association. Shame is indeed the name."
Executives at the fashion label responded to Morrissey’s statement by saying that the company was upfront with the singer about its plans for the photo shoot, adding that the company paid the singer a “substantial fee” for his participation in the campaign. The company also says that the singer’s contract prohibits him from “unreasonably” preventing Supreme from using the photos in its planned advertising push.
Having rejected all of the images the company selected, Supreme claims Morrissey offered an image of his own, but that was later posted to Instagram without Supreme’s approval. The fashion brand offered the singer the chance to reshoot the campaign (at Supreme’s expense), to take another look at the Terry Richardson photos from the initial shoot, or to return the fee he had been paid.
“Morrissey repeatedly ignored all three options with no reason given as to why. He then proceeded to assert a sudden and ridiculous claim that because Supreme had used the White Castle logo on a group of products in the past, and because he is a known vegetarian, that the agreement was supposedly terminated,” a Supreme spokesperson said.
“After many attempts to solve this problem, and left with no other viable options, Supreme proceeded to publish these images as per its agreement with Morrissey.”