First popping up on the streets of Paris and London late last week, we could officially confirm that the latest Supreme campaign for Spring/Summer 2016, features none other than The Smiths frontman Morrissey. Since 2005 Supreme has been using high profile musicians in its campaigns, you can see most of them here, as such this latest one seemed like the perfect fit. The photos are almost every time taken by photographer Terry Richardson and the models always wear a white t-shirt with the brand's iconic red box logo.
Over the years Raekwon, Lady Gaga, Neil Young, Lou Reed and many others have been featured. We of course assumed that the appearance of the new campaign, simply meant that Supreme would be releasing its new Spring/Summer 2016 collection in the coming weeks. But things got a little out of hand, once Morrissey posted a statement about the campaign and him not being very happy about it. You can read the statement in its entirety here below:
"I apologize 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 encyclopedia 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. 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. I offer excessive apologies for this association. Shame is indeed the name."
While Morrissey is long known for being anti-meat, the fact that Supreme collaborated once in the past with White Castle, does not really mean much, especially not that they are sponsored by the brand. Much like most other Supreme collaborations, this one was also with an iconic American brand, rather than a "meat" brand. It is more about the iconic branding, than it is about the product. The licensing of the brand's logo does not really show any affiliation beyond and as such makes Morrissey's claim a little strange.
Supreme has now also released an official statement and gives us information on what exactly went down. It seems like the brand and Morrissey disagreed on the choice of photos for the most part. Read the full statement here below:
"In July of 2015 Supreme approached Morrissey to participate in one of it's poster and T-Shirt campaigns. The scope of the project was explained in full detail to Morrissey, including the intended look, the setting, the photographer, as well as the items that would be produced: a T-Shirt and a poster. An agreement was entered which named the photographer as Terry Richardson, who has shot many of Supreme's campaigns, and whom Morrissey has worked with before. Images of past campaigns were sent to Morrissey for reference so that the intended result was clear. Morrissey required a substantial fee for his participation in this project which Supreme paid up front and in full. The photo shoot lasted two hours and Morrissey was free to do, and pose as he wished. The agreement prohibits Morrissey from "unreasonably" withholding approval of the use of photographs taken at the photo shoot.
After offering Morrissey several options of images from the shoot, Morrissey rejected them all with no explanation. Instead, Morrissey insisted on using a photo that he had taken of himself wearing a Supreme T-shirt for the campaign. This image was later made public on Instagram by his nephew. Unable to use this image Supreme repeatedly offered Morrissey three very reasonable options as a remedy to the impasse: 1) To do an entire re-shoot at Supreme's sole expense, 2) To select one of the many options from the shoot with Terry Richardson that were offered to Morrissey, 3) To return the money that was paid to Morrissey by Supreme.
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. In light of this ploy, Supreme once again requested the return of the money it had paid to Morrissey so that both parties could walk away from the project. However, he refused.
After many attempts to solve this problem, and left with no other viable options, Supreme proceeded to publish these images as per it's agreement with Morrissey."
[UPDATE] February 16, 2016 Morrissey once again took to True-to-You.net to voice his grievances with the New York brand. He responded with:
"As a matter of fact, I do not have, do not want, nor do I need, any money from the company called Supreme.
If Supreme have sent money in my name then they could track it down and reclaim it - if they had NOT printed that photograph of me for their 2016 campaign.
By running prints of the photograph they have derailed their own negotiations. This is why they are angry.
The photograph is dreadful and will help neither myself nor Supreme. Who needs it? Nobody.
Supreme were warned by my lawyer and accountant that the photograph should NOT be used. Supreme ignored this advice. Hence this mess.
I write these statements because there is no one else to write them. The joy I receive from such statements is non-existent."