Beyoncé Rep Denies She Stole Footage For “Formation” Video

Beyoncé Rep Denies She Stole Footage For “Formation” Video

Yesterday, Beyoncé surprised the world with the release of her new video “Formation,” but some were apparently a little more surprised than others. Abteen Bagheri and Chris Black, the director and producer behind the 2013 New Orleans bounce documentary That B.E.A.T., are claiming that “Formation” director Melina Matsoukas used B-roll footage from their film without permission. “They stole it,” Black told The New York Times. “We were there for a week and hung out with the people and immersed ourselves in the culture. We put a lot into it ourselves.”

According to Black, Beyoncé’s team had requested to license the footage late last month, but the talks broke down last week without anything getting finalized. “They sent an NDA, I saw Beyoncé’s name in it,” he told Complex. “And I just never signed it. And that was it. They never said, ‘Hey, we talked to this person and it’s all good.’ It just kind of ended there. They had reached out to [That B.E.A.T. director] Abteen and he told them no. Melina has a history of borrowing, or stealing, or however you want to describe it. David LaChapelle, the Rihanna video [“S&M”]. And David LaChapelle sued her.”

In several since-deleted tweets, director Abteen Bagheri also wrote, “It’s one thing to make a career off referencing/copying, but just to take footage from our lens and say you’re the director?…If you call yourself a director, have some respect for other people with the same title. Talk to me about how and why you need my footage….The issue is passing off someone else’s work as your own. Preserve the sanctity of the craft… Don’t just plop footage in your video!”

Later on Saturday night, the “Formation” director thanked them via tweet:

And the filmmakers responded:

Now, a representative for Beyoncé has issued a statement saying that the footage was licensed properly and used with permission: “The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner of the footage. They were given proper compensation. The footage was provided to us by the filmmaker’s production company. The filmmaker is listed in the credits for additional photography direction. We are thankful that they granted us permission.”

Watch both videos below.

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