Kanye West Sued by Photographer After Using Photo to Taunt Vogue Editor

Kanye West has been sued by a photographer for allegedly using her photo without permission to taunt a Vogue Editor on Instagram last year.

According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, photographer Michaela Efford has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against West for using her photo of Vogue contributing editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson without consent.

In October, the rapper shared a photo of Karefa-Johnson taken by Michaela Efford during a highly-publicized social media tirade.

The tirade was a response to Karefa-Johnson’s critique of West for styling models and himself in t-shirts reading “White Lives Matter” at his Yeezy season nine show.

In her critique, Karefa-Johnson said that while West may have intended the t-shirts to be provocative, the stunt “didn’t land, and it was deeply offensive, violent and dangerous.”

However, the rapper did not react well to Karefa-Johnson’s comments and instead took to Instagram to mock the Vogue editor.

West shared Efford’s photograph of Karefa-Johnson alongside the caption: “This is not a fashion person You speak on Ye Ima speak on you Ask Trevor Noah.”

The rapper also uploaded a close-up of Efford’s photograph and mocked the Vogue editor’s boots in the image.

‘Unauthorized Usage’

In the copyright infringement lawsuit, Efford says that she took the photo of Karefa-Johnson in September 2022 and West posted it on Instagram about one week later.

In her filing, Efford claims that West’s unauthorized usage of her photo has harmed her ability to market and profit from the work. The photographer is now pursuing unspecific damages.

The Fashion Law reports that Efford claims the rapper has benefitted from the infringements by way of “increased traffic to the account, [which], in turn, caused him to realize an increase in his revenues” and that he “received a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringements.”

Specifically, Efford alleges that West’s Instagram account is “monetized in that [it] advertises [his] fashion brand and music,” and serves as “a key component of [his] popular and lucrative commercial enterprise.”

Legal Troubles

This is not the first time West has found himself in legal trouble with a photographer. Earlier this month, PetaPixel reported that Kanye West was being sued by a photographer after the rapper threw her phone into the street.

In December, photographer Katelyn Mooney was reportedly left unable to pay rent after West failed to pay her $110,000 for a last-minute photo shoot.

Mooney is now suing West’s Yeezy Inc after the rapper allegedly only paid the Brooklyn-based photographer $15,000 — instead of the $110,00 he owed for the photo shoot.