Did Beyonce Steal "Formation" Footage? The Claims Are Riling Up Fans
Less than 24 hours after its premiere, Beyoncé's "Formation" video has found controversy. Along with director Melina Matsuokas, Beyoncé has been accused of using "Formation" footage from the documentary short That B.E.A.T. without permission. On Saturday, That B.E.A.T. director Chris Black and producer Abteen Bagheri took to Twitter to call out Beyoncé for allegedly failing to secure permission to use some the New Orleans footage that was originally shot for their documentary. Bustle has reached out to Beyoncé's rep for comment, but has not heard back at this time.
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, though, Beyonce's rep said, "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."
As for how this confusion started, Vulture speculates that it is possible that Beyoncé's team received permission from the companies that hold the rights to the footage featured in That B.E.A.T., which in this case would be the Sundance Channel and possibly Nokia. While Black and Bagheri created the footage, it is the actual production company that would need to be contacted in order to secure the rights for its use in "Formation." And if you check out the video credits for "Formation" at Videostatic, Bagheri is credited for additional photography direction.
While Bagheri originally tweeted, "I'm not mad. It's the sad reality of the music business. Doesn't affect my friends' and my work, but not cool," he later changed his stance once "Formation" director Melina Matsuokas tweeted a thank you to the filmmakers. Bagheri seemed to appreciate the director's shout-out, saying,
It looks like fans can now go back to enjoying Bey's new tune without worry — but be sure to check out the short film that helped in its creation in order to get the full "Formation" experience.