“1. i was never approached by nylon about this piece whatsoever. i did not know it was happening nor did anyone on my team. 2. this is not even a real picture of me. i had absolutely no creative input. 3. youre gonna make a picture of me shirtless?? thats not real?? at 17? and make it the cover???? even if the picture was supposed to look like some robot version of me… i did not consent in any way. 4. ANNNDDD YOU’RE GONNA REMOVE ALL MY FUCKIN HAIR? booooooooooo to you.”
The singer, who won three times at the MTV Video Music Awards this week, signed off with an emoji of a middle-fingered gesture.
Amid ensuing social media frenzy and raging online debate, the magazine removed the offending post, substituted a similar image featuring German twins Lena and Lisa, and said: “We at Nylon Germany value and stand for artistic freedom, but we also respect the feelings of [Bille Eilish] and her fandom. We are fans ourselves.
“Therefore we decided to remove our second cover of Billie Eilish. For this cover, it was never our intention to create a look that is confusing or insulting to Billie. It was only ever our intention to honour her impact by creating this avatar, which is part of a cover series highlighting the power of digital prodigy artists.”
The American edition of the magazine felt compelled to distance itself from the controversy.
“Nylon America is a different company than Nylon Germany,” it said, also on social media, “and we strongly disagree with their decision to appropriate Billie Eilish’s image without her consent. Nylon America is very sorry to Billie and her fans.
“We love Billie and everything she stands for. Her message to young women is important and we vow to continue to help spread it appropriately.”
Earlier this month, Eilish ended Lil Nas X’s record 19-week reign at No 1 in the Billboard Hot 100, with her song Bad Guy. It was the fifth single taken from her debut album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which was released this year.
In its review of the album, the Guardian said: “Eilish doesn’t hide the fact that she is a product of an online adolescence, steeped in a pop cultural morass with no beginning or end.”
Discussing the “sense of betrayal she feels when she accidentally comes across cruel memes about her while scrolling through humour accounts”, Eilish said: “If someone’s being mean about me, that shit’s funny. Someone’s laughing. I don’t care. It’s not that deep.”