Beyonce fires back against claims that the “Lemonade” visual album ripped off a 2014 short film. The “Formation” pop star filed documents in court refuting the rip off allegations made by made by filmmaker Matthew Fulks. He claims that Lemonade is largely based on his 2014 film Palinoia. Matthew is suing Beyonce for stealing his ideas.
Beyonce fired back claiming that Lemonade and Palinoia have very different storylines. In fact, Beyonce pointed out that the HBO special takes viewers on the journey of an African-American woman progressing through various stages of dealing with a lover’s betrayal that include suspicion, denial and anger. At the end, Beyonce shows reconciliation and not staying in a place of “pain”. By contrast, the film Matthew talks about the depression of a white man distressed over the end of a failed relationship. The concepts behind the short film and visual album are drastically different and so according to Beyonce, Lemonade is in no way a rip off of Palinoia.
Beyonce had released her promotional video for her HBO special which aired in April. The 1 minute video clip gain massive attention with fans eager to see the full visual album. Aside from the video clip, Beyonce released her sixth studio ablum with very little promotion. However, the album garnered massive success remaining the #1 album on iTunes for weeks. Lemonade remains a top ten album on iTunes even several months later. Current ranking shows Lemonade at #2 on iTunes second only to Gucci’s newly released album “Everyone Looking”.
Aside from copying visual clips of his 2014 film, Matthew makes another salient claim that has Beyonce’s camp reeling. He is incensed that the team he hired to work on Palinoia in 2014, we’re later hired by Beyonce to work on her Lemonade video. These were the same people would know the inner workings of Palinoia’s film which may be the basis to Lemonade’s visual similarities according to Matthew.
Fulks lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He now alleges that Beyonce, her management company, Parkwood Entertainment in addition to Sony Music Entertainment as well as Columbia Recording Corporation committed copyright infringement thereby stealing from his Palinoia short film.
There are scene to scene being compared now in order to know exactly what the truth is. The Lemonade trailer shows Beyonce is shown in one scene where she stands with her head down. She is standing against a vehicle which is next to graffiti that is written on a white wall. Matthew says that there is a similar scene in his film.
The same head scene leaning on wall with graffiti?
In fact, the lawsuit which was filed by Matthew in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan has put on record nine instances of such kind of similarity. In total this comes to about 39 seconds in total. Do note that this refers to a 65 second trailer of Beyonce. He has asked for an unspecified amount of money as monetary damages due to this similarity issue.
In addition the filmmaker also lists various scenes that he feels are alike in his lawsuit. In fact, he has done side by side comparisons of these scenes in that court papers that he had filed in June.
In the visual album is a scene where Beyonce sings in an underground parking lot. This is present in her trailer for Lemonade as well as in the HBO special.
He has claimed that the Lemonade trailer portrays similar pace, mood, setting as well as fonts as his own movie. The similarities cited include graffiti, persons with heads down, stairwell, feet on the street, red persons with obscured eyes, parking garage, black and white eyes, besides title card screens, as well as the grass scene, and the side-lit ominous figures. Check out some more side by side clips below:
Similar parking garage scene
Same red lighting
Both films show close ups of the eyes in black and white
Matthew claims that the black and white scene showing close up of the eyes are basically the same in both Lemonade and his original film Palinoia.
Matthew claims the font and title card are also rip-offs of his short film
Both films also linger on grass and plants according to Matthew
Too close? Matthew also claims staircase scene stolen from Palinoia
THR.com posted a copy of the complaint filed by Fulks in New York against Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment, as well as Sony Music along with Columbia Recording.
Fulks is working as a creative director at a news station in Louisville. He is asking for a share in the profits as this is an outcome of the exploitation of his own work. Matthew states that an executive at Columbia approached him in 2015 to direct a music video and his information including a link to Palinoia were sent to others that the label.
Not seen in Palinoia is the scene where Beyonce is shown smashing cars with a baseball bat addressing themes of adultery, revenge and ultimately forgiveness:
With other scenes not remotely close to anything in Palinoia, Beyonce is saying Hold Up!
Wait a minute Matthew Fulks! The beyhive, and internet now question your motives. Is Matthew upset that he did not sign up to direct “Lemonade”? Is he just looking for a check since Palinoia was not that successful? The actual songs have nothing to do with Palinoia. Certain clips may show some similarity but how much is original content versus creative common license? For example, lingering on grass shot well a judge may ask Matthew if he owns the grass or did he create the grass that is shown in Beyonce’s video? Will he go ahead and sue other artists who have shots of grass in their videos? Certain things are found naturally in nature and other man-made things like a parking lot will have similar features everywhere. Does this mean if one artist shoots in a parking lot then another artist can not?
These are some of the questions lawyers will debate in court. How much intellectual property can Matthew claim is original and only pertains to Palinoia is for a judge to decide. Pardon the pun, but if there is “reasonable doubt” like Jay Z rapped about then Beyonce could get off scott free. In reality, there may just be a quick settlement with Matthew possibly directing videos at Columbia and staying mum on his rip off claims.