Stormzy blasts NME for using his image on cover without permission

The following was reported in the London Evening Standard:

Stormzy has blasted the NME for using an image of him on the magazine cover without his permission for a story about depression.

The London Grime star has spoken out in interviews about his experiences with depression, but has hit out at the NME for allegedly not consulting him before using him as a ‘poster boy’ for a ‘sensitive issue’.

The front page features a large image of Stormzy with the headline: “’Depression: it’s time to talk”.

The 23 year-old, whose real name is Michael Omari, posted a series of tweets aimed at the magazine claiming that they didn’t seek permission from him to place him on the cover and write about his mental health in the article.

“You lot are a bunch of real life f****** p*********. Proper d********. We’ve had a good relationship before this, why do you think it is kool [sic] to use my me [sic] as a poster boy for such a sensitive issue without permission?” he wrote.

“You lot have been begging me to be on your cover and you go and do it in the biggest p********, sly way possible. Bunch of f****** paigons.”

Clarifying his argument around the magazine’s approach to his story, he added: “They’ve used me on their cover without my permission. Depression is a very very sensitive issue and it’s something I’ve spoken about

“It is a subject that isn’t the easiest thing to speak about. And I’ve been careful in how I’ve dealt with it in the media.

“After I spoke on it I realised how widespread the issue is which made me think ok kool [sic] maybe that was the right thing to do at first.

“However using my face as a poster boy for it to sell your magazine is so foul and below the belt I will never respect you lot.

“I should at least have a say in whether my face is used for a campaign. I’ve no issue with sharing my story but, with my permission!”

Responding to Stormzy through the NME’s official Twitter account, editor Mike Williams responded: “Hi Stormzy, Editor Mike here. I’m sorry that you didn’t know your image would be our cover. Our intentions were only positive.

“We were inspired by your words and wanted to use them as a springboard to talk about depression and how it shouldn’t be taboo.

“We spoke to CALM and YoungMinds in order to make sure the advice we were giving people was on message with how they advise and we spoke to other people with a profile to gather their stories and advice too.

“We used your image as we felt it would resonate most with our readers, and I can only apologise again that you didn’t know. Our only intention was to raise awareness of an issue that we’ve been inspired to talk about following your comments.

“I’m really sorry this has happened. We’re a free magazine and were not trying to shift copies, just talk about something important.”

The writer of the feature, Andrew Trendell released a statement about the new issue.

“With regards to this week’s NME feature about mental health, it was only ever my intention to raise awareness about something very important,” he wrote. “I had absolutely no part in the cover itself, the photos used, nor the cover lines. That is not my responsibility and was done by other people entirely.

“I would hate for this to distract from the message of the piece itself. Having lost loved ones to depression, dealt with it first-hand and seen the stigma that surrounds it with countless others, I have spent months speaking to artists and specialists to plan a string of features and a campaign around a conversation that needs to happen. Depression, anxiety and issues around mental health will impact on all of us at some point on our lives – if not you then someone you love.

“I have nothing but respect for Stormzy and the many other artists and figures who have bravely spoken out to shine a light on a subject that should in no way be taboo, to give others the courage to seek help.”


3 months ago