Why is Courtney Love attacking Olivia Rodrigo? An explainer


Courtney Love has accused pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo of plagiarizing artwork from “Live Through This,” the 1994 album by Love’s band Hole.

What began as a sweet Instagram exchange Thursday between the veteran rocker and the Gen Z superstar spiraled into allegations of intellectual-property theft over the weekend when Love accused Rodrigo of “stealing” Hole’s concept to promote Rodrigo’s upcoming concert film, “Sour Prom.”

For the record:

2:23 PM, Jun. 28, 2021A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the cover art for Hole’s “Live Through This” album pictured lead singer Courtney Love. The album cover is a photograph of model Leilani Bishop.

“Spot the difference! #twinning,” Love captioned a promotional photo of Rodrigo holding a bouquet of flowers while wearing a tiara and smudged mascara.

The image, shared by Love on Instagram and Facebook, bears a resemblance to the album cover for Hole’s “Live Through This,” which captured model Leilani Bishop in a similar costume and pose.

“love u and live through this sooooo much,” Rodrigo replied to Love’s Instagram post highlighting the similarities.

“Olivia — you’re welcome,” Love wrote back. “My favorite florist is in Notting Hill, London! Dm me for deets! I look forward to reading your note!”

Things then turned sour when Love elaborated on Facebook that the photo shoot for Rodrigo’s forthcoming YouTube special gave her more than just a little déjà vu.

“it was rude of her and geffen [Records] not to ask myself or [“Live Through This” cover photographer] Ellen von unwerth” for permission, Love replied on Facebook to a fan’s comment that Rodrigo’s artwork was “a total rip-off.” “It’s happened my whole career so I [don’t care]. But manners is manners!”

Some sarcastically suggested that, by her own logic, Love should apologize to horror author Stephen King for ripping off the prom scene from 1976’s “Carrie,” starring Sissy Spacek — which looks a whole lot like both Hole and Rodrigo’s prom portraits.

(In a 2019 interview with Another magazine, photographer Von Unwerth confirmed that the “Live Through This” cover shoot was based on Love’s “idea of re-enacting the scene of the [1976] movie Carrie, which I loved, too.”)

“Stealing an original idea and not asking permission is rude. There’s no way to be elegant about it,” Love added in response to a Facebook user who shamed her for getting mad about “a silly thing” and “sniping at someone paying homage” to her.

“I’m not angry. It happens all the time to me. But this was bad form. That’s not bullying or bomb throwing. This persons music has nothing to do with my life. Possibly never will. It was rude And I [have] every right to stick up for my work. Don’t gatekeep me! I’m honorable as f— to my fellow artists, and I expect the same.”

In yet another reply, Love clarified that she expects flowers from the 18-year-old “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” star for allegedly lifting Hole’s work.

“I’ve informed her I await her flowers [and] note,” Love wrote on Facebook. “I sure hope it’s long. Does Disney teach kids reading and writing? God knows. Let’s see. Yes this is rude. Rage inducing? Honey if I had a dollar for everyone this happens? I’d be real rich!”

Rodrigo has not responded publicly to Love’s Facebook remarks.

Around the same time Love attacked Rodrigo on social media, a handful of others accused the “Drivers License” hitmaker of copying another band’s artwork for her chart-topping single “Good 4 U.”

On Twitter, some compared a photo of Rodrigo posing in a blue cheerleading uniform and black latex gloves to an image of Pom Pom Squad frontwoman Mia Berrin modeling a red cheerleading uniform and red latex gloves.

(Pom Pom Squad’s defenders also presented, as evidence, side-by-side photos of Rodrigo and Berrin holding red pompoms — though that particular image of Rodrigo hails from a pre-“Drivers License” photo shoot that isn’t tied to her recent music.)

Neither Rodrigo nor Pom Pom Squad has responded publicly to the comparisons.

The majority of fans, however, believe that the cheerleader look from Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” photo shoot and music video was inspired by the 2001 film “The Princess Diaries,” in which Mandy Moore’s mean girl character wears almost the exact same costume.

Representatives for Rodrigo did not immediately respond Monday to The Times’ requests for comment.

Last week, Rodrigo announced on social media that a pre-recorded virtual concert — featuring songs from her smash debut album, “Sour” — was coming soon.

“since i never got to go to prom, I wanted to throw a little prom party with my fav ppl (you guys obvs),” the singer-songwriter tweeted, along with a link to set a reminder for the event.

Rodrigo’s “Sour Prom” debuts Tuesday on YouTube at 8:30 p.m. Pacific.

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