Update, November 10, 2022: It looks like Drake and 21 Savage’s parody promo campaign for Her Loss is now, legally, their loss. A U.S. judge has blocked the rappers from using the fake Vogue covers on November 9, two days after Condé Nast sued the duo for using the publisher’s brand without its permission. The order requires Drake and 21 Savage to stop distributing the fake magazine and covers, including on social media, and blocked them from using Anna Wintour’s name and likeness. It appears that the rappers have removed the images from their social-media accounts. A hearing is scheduled for November 22 to consider a longer injunction.
Original story published November 8 follows.
Like the album and the men themselves, Drake and 21 Savage’s promotion for Her Loss has been polarizing. The pair created an entire fake press cycle, complete with a Vogue cover, an NPR Tiny Desk clip, a Howard Stern interview, and a Saturday Night Live performance. Stern said the rappers “did such a good job” with the fake clip, while NPR used the chance to shoot its shot and invite Drake and 21 to the Tiny Desk. Vogue, though, isn’t as impressed: Condé Nast, the magazine’s publisher, has filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit for over $4 million against the rappers and Drake’s PR firm, Hiltzik Strategies, over the fake magazine. TMZ first reported the lawsuit. In a filing obtained by Vulture, Condé’s lawyers claim that the cover, and its subsequent promotion through posters and the distribution of edited issues, devalued Vogue by confusing readers (in part because it is so close to an actual Vogue cover campaign). The fake issue “damaged the goodwill and reputation” of Vogue’s name and brand, the lawyers argue. Drake’s publicist at Hiltzik offered Vulture no comment, and the rappers’ social-media posts promoting the fake magazine are still up.
Per the lawsuit, Condé has been trying to get Drake and 21 to stop promoting the fake magazine since October 31, the day after they debuted it. When the company sent a cease-and-desist letter that day, Hiltzik allegedly responded merely that “it was was [sic] received.” Condé’s lawyers go on to cite multiple publications and fans who thought the magazine cover was real. The filing also takes specific issue with doctored images of Drake and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who “did not authorize the use of her image to promote Defendants’ Album.” Overall, the lawsuit claims that Drake, 21, and Hiltzik have acted with “flippant disregard for Condé Nast’s rights.” In addition to damages across seven claims, Condé is requesting that Drake and 21 Savage destroy copies of the fake magazine. Their loss, indeed.