Drake and 21 Savage sued by ‘Vogue’ publisher over fake magazine cover

Mia Euceda, Arts & Culture Editor

Media company and owner of Vogue Magazine Condé Nast is suing rappers Drake and Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, better known by his stage name 21 Savage, for allegedly creating a fake Vogue cover to promote their new album “Her Loss.”

The publisher, also known as Advance Magazine Publishers Incorporated, filed a 30-page lawsuit on Monday in New York Federal court accusing the defendants of counterfeiting, false advertising and trademark infringement. It said the “deceptive” campaign “deliberately seeks to capitalize” on the magazine’s reputation to promote the album.

The suit details how the rappers published the fake cover on social media as if it were authentic, with an Instagram caption thanking Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, for support “on this historic moment.”

Drake and 21 Savage shared the now-deleted post to their 135 million followers, with some fans congratulating the duo for their supposed success in the comments.

“It’s real. Also magazines can have multiple covers,” a comment read.

The cover was convincing enough for some news outlets to report on it. The suit provides a link to a now-deleted article from Yahoo News stating the duo genuinely appeared in the magazine.

According to the complaint, copies and posters of the faux issue were distributed in “North America’s largest metropolitan areas,” including New York City, Houston, Miami, Toronto and Los Angeles.

The counterfeit magazine consisted of edited material from Vogue’s October issue and content that wasn’t in the original issue, including a photoshopped image of Drake with Wintour.

Other pages remained unmodified, “constituting an exact reproduction of Condé Nast’s copyrightable content,” the suit said.

Condé Nast disapproved of the rappers using the magazine’s layout in the promotional material.

The publisher said it did not “authorize, much less support, the creation and widespread dissemination of a counterfeit issue of ‘Vogue.’”

The publisher is seeking either $4 million in damages or triple the profits made from the album and magazine, depending on which is higher. They are calling for punitive damages and an end to all trademark infringement. The company also seeks a court order forcing the defendants to delete the fake cover from social media and their websites.

It’s unclear if the musicians directly profited from the stunt.

The suit said that since Oct. 31, Condé Nast asked Drake and 21 Savage numerous times to stop circulating the magazine but were met with no response.

“Defendants’ flippant disregard for Conde Nast’s rights have left it with no choice but to commence this action,” it said.

The counterfeit cover isn’t the only property the rappers parodied for the campaign. They also released mock appearances onSaturday Night Live,” NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, “The Howard Stern Show” and the YouTube series “COLORSXSTUDIOS.”

These endeavors, unlike the Voguecover, were appreciated by some. On a radio broadcast, host Howard Stern said Drake did a “good job” imitating the faux interview.

NPR invited the rappers to a real appearance on their program. “If Drake and 21 Savage want to perform at the real Tiny Desk, we’d love to have them,” an NPR spokesperson said in a statement.

Controversy also sprung from the song “Circo Loco” off the duo’s new album. It possibly references how rapper Meagan Thee Stallion was allegedly shot by rapper Tory Lanez.

“Stop using my shooting for clout,” she tweeted.

“Her Loss” was released on Nov. 4, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and receiving mixed reviews from critics.