Billie Eilish is one name that every pop music fan would know. At the age of 17, the “Bad Guy” singer holds the record for being the first artist born in this century and the youngest artist since Lorde to have a number-one single.
This cements her status as a popular musician with a global following. Which includes Nylon Germany. Recently, the German edition of the magazine revealed their latest cover featuring a digital art version of the young singer as part of a series that showcases “the power of digital prodigy artists”.
Great idea, terrible execution. The image shows the singer shirtless and bald, possibly using an existing photo of her to create the artwork. All of which was done without her or her team’s knowledge.
This outraged Billie as she lashed out on her instagram in a now-deleted post: “youre gonna make a picture of me shirtless?? that’s not real?? at 17? and make it the cover???? even if the picture was supposed to look like some robot version of me… i did not consent in anyway.”
According to Variety, Nylon posted their in a now-deleted reply: “For this cover, it was never our intention to create a look that is confusing or insulting to Billie Eilish. It was only ever our intention to honor Billies impact and her work by creating this avatar which is part of a cover series highlighting the power of digital prodigy artists. This avatar is a piece of 3D artwork created in dedication to her achievements and the positive effect she has had on millions around the globe – including us.”
Welp, no signs of apology there!
But they did remove the Billie cover and replaced with another one depicting German social media personalities Lisa and Lena for the series. In the post, they also added the following paragraph in reference to the Billie incident.
It reads: “We as NYLON Germany value and stand for artistic freedom, but we also respect the feelings of @billieeilish and her fandom. We are fans ourselves. Therefore we decided to remove our second cover of Billie Eilish. For this cover, it was never our intention to create a look that is confusing or insulting to Billie. It was only ever our intention to honor her impact by creating this avatar, which part of a cover series highlighting the power of digital prodigy artists.”
Again, no hint of an apology or remorse for violating the privacy of an underaged woman.
What strikes me as strange is that Lisa and Lena were “asked” before their cover image was posted. That begs the question of whether they were notified way beforehand or just recently because of what happened with Billie. Hmm….
And here’s another question, why are companies so stubbornly reluctant to say that they’re sorry when they get called out on making mistakes like this? It doesn’t matter what intentions you have, it’s how you deal with the impact you’ve caused to a person who has told you straight-up that they’re not comfortable with what you’ve done. By refusing to acknowledge the hurt you’ve caused, it shows that you just don’t care and that is a lot more detrimental to your reputation and place in the industry than admitting you’re at your fault.
It’s just basic human courtesy, guys. Heck, even Nylon US knows that. It’s why they’ve distanced themselves from Nylon Germany.
They wrote on Twitter: “Nylon America is a different company than Nylon Germany and we strongly disagree with their decision to appropriate Billie Eilish’s image without her consent. Nylon America is very sorry to Billie and her fans. We love Billie and everything she stands for. Her message to young women is important and we vow to continue to help spread it appropriately.”
But hey, maybe Nylon Germany does feel bad and just didn’t express it right. So let’s turn this disappointing situation into a teachable moment for all of us.
- If someone does something to you that makes you uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to let them know to stop them.
- Even if you hurt someone accidentally, swallow your pride and apologise.
Lastly, good on you, Billie, for speaking up! It takes real courage to say that something is not okay, even if other people may not agree.