As if David Ayer didn't have enough to deal with, drowning in a sea of flak and bad reviews, the South African rap-rave duo, Die Antwoord have publicly slammed him for pillaging their image to cobble together a new, edgier Joker.
One half of the duo, Yolandi Visser took to Instagram to attack Ayer with a quickly-put-together video to support the claim. It seems that Ayer lead the other half of the group, Ninja, on with phone calls showing his love for them, talking about them on set and even inviting them to the premiere. Her video posits images of her and her other half, Ninja, next to Harley Quinn and Joker and refers to Ayer pilfering dialogue from their short film Unshini Wam.
Is Ayer Guilty or Innocent?
Die Antwoord first broke through with their infectious rap hit 'Enter The Ninja'. In the video they establish the characters of Ninja, a demented mish-mash of all aspects of South African culture whose sole aim is to cause chaos and Yolandi, whose false innocence hides the most twisted intentions. Their dynamic as a couple who lived by their own rules and despite constantly being at each other's throats, needed no one but each other. These were constant themes even as their style became more and more flamboyant and surreal.
Looking at Die Antwoord's videos and side-by-side comparisons, it's easy to spot some comparisons, the shaved eyebrows, lily white skin, silver grills and prison-bad tattoos. It seems that there is safe to say that the Joker and Harlequin's look was informed by Die Antwoord style. However, the video posted by Yolandi goes on to claim that The Joker was also influenced by Marilyn Manson, shooting herself in the foot and begging the question: where did Die Antwoord copy their style from?
This on-going story of a couple too weird and dangerous to fit into normal society has been revisited time and time again in Bonnie & Clyde, Badlands and Natural Born Killers. In fact it's safe to assume that Die Antwoord pinched a few ideas when reading the comic book versions of Joker and Harley Quinn. It's easy to claim exclusivity of a brand or a logo but how do you claim that you're the original crazy couple or that you're the first rap duo to be covered in prison tattoos?
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This isn't the first time someone feels the need to be financially compensated for having their style borrowed. Back in 2012, upon the release of Harmony Korine's weird and wonderful Springbreakers, the Youtube rap sensation Riff-Raff was struggling to remain relevant and was outraged when James Franco was clearly inspired by the rapper's look and mannerisms for his character, Alien.
Riff-Raff used the story as leverage to become more of a household name as the film got a limited international release. The scandal helped him advance from making beats with local producers and relying on Youtube to make money to working with Diplo and Skrillex and touring the U.S. Franco responded in jest by playing Riff Raff again in a SNL sketch, casually dismissing the lawsuits and the "lawyer team" Riff Raff set upon him. The Atlanta rapper has since slipped into obscurity but will be immortalized in Springbreakers.
Want to steal Die Antwoord/Suicide Squads style too? Then check out out Joker make-up tutorial below:
As the old saying goes 'imitation is the highest form of flattery' and although Yolandi's claim is entirely valid, it is not certain what she expected from Ayer and Leto. Chances are Die Antwoord are looking for compensation, credit and some publicity before the release of their album later this year but neither Ayer nor Leto has responded to the accusation and Die Antwoord shouldn't hold their breath.
Granted, Die Antwoord worked hard on creating an image based around shock value with a strong aesthetic which itself is a pick 'n mix assemblage-of influences. We can maybe expect Johnny Rotten, Marilyn Manson and Lil Jon to take to the press to protest having their image stolen by the Joker too?
Do you think Ayer stole Die Antwoord's style?