Don’t Do This: Diplo Steals Indie Illustrator’s Art, Responds to Criticism with Harassment

stock: True War Romance 16, penciller Bill Walsh, digital comics museum

Yeah, you read that right. Grammy-Award winning DJ Diplo was above requesting usage or offering payment for independent illustrator and animator Rebecca Mock’s work. Without her permission, he used her animated gif as a promotional Instagram for his latest collaboration. Not content with having a conversation about copyright and usage laws, he responded to Mock’s outcry with the basest mode of sexual harassment, preserved by webcomic artist Jeffrey Rowland:

Diplo shames only himself.
This man is 36 years old.

I didn’t think this exchange needed to be dissected, but according to some choice Instagram comments, it does. Here’s some basic takeaways (personal rage heavily edited):

  1. Artists deserve to be credited and compensated for their work. If you don’t own it, it’s not yours to manipulate, distribute, sell, or make your own promotional images out of.
  2. Don’t sexually harass anyone. Not in response to a complaint. Not at all. Not ever.

Let’s assume a neutral stance, and say that Diplo was employing a rhetorical device: that he didn’t mean literally that adequate compensation for an artist’s work should be his rancid sexual attention. What he and his social media supports are suggesting is that even RESPECT is too much payment to give for using someone else’s work. And the easiest way to show a female artist disrespect is to shine a sexual light on her.

Comics fans, you know that’s wrong. Decent humans, you know it’s wrong too.

And trust me, it’s not above notice that Diplo stole Mock’s artwork to advertise an upcoming collaborative remix with Missy Elliot, a groundbreaking and pioneering female artist in her own right. Women, artists: people deserve recognition and recompense for their creative work.

Shame on you, Diplo, for being so myopic to your own fucking project.

Support Rebecca Mock’s incredible work by buying it.

Jo Fu

Jo Fu

WWAC games writer and editorial assistant, Halo devotee, tower defender, Final Fantasy tactician, Twine creator, all-around winner. Chat with me on Twitter @jozerphine, or follow my Twitch stream:

17 thoughts on “Don’t Do This: Diplo Steals Indie Illustrator’s Art, Responds to Criticism with Harassment

  1. I had to block diplo and a bunch of his fans. I tried to help Rebecca stand up to him over Twitter, letting him know it’s not cool to use things without people’s permission, to just ask, and if you don’t know then don’t use. He started lashing out, shortly followed by his fans doing the same.

    One of my friends linked me to a story smearing him today that made me think about it again. Such a rude guy. Hope he grows up.

  2. Wow. That’s was a seriously shit response from diplo.
    I don’t think the article was anti-dj… Crediting artists hasn’t always been done, but I think most nowadays recognize its importance. As for the banner… Well if it’s stock art, isn’t that why people get stock art? To not have to worry about infringing on someone’s rights (or at least shift responsibility for crediting to the supplier?). Where is the line drawn? Should font creators be credited?

    In this case diplo took something from the internet (which does not mean it’s free to use) ,apparently made no effort to source credit (but later did?), and then was a complete dick about it when called out.

    1. Actually fonts and typesets are credited. Look in any book you own and the first page or so with all the publisher information will credit what typeset is used, and who owns it. Letterers are also credited by comics on the same page as pencillers, colourists, and writers. Fonts are no different, it’s an art in of itself and worth crediting.

        1. When it comes to crediting content creators, this is often covered in licensing agreements. Some people put credits in their code, but if there’s a commercial license, this is often not required.

  3. Look, I’m not gonna lie, Diplo’s a dickhead and the way he responded to Mock was totally uncalled for, but basically you guys seem to be totally against sampling? Honestly, the whole point of being a DJ and producer is to take a bunch of shit you didn’t make and re-arrange it into something totally new (look at the type of shit Fatboy Slim and The Prodigy make?) I know I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here, but are trying to argue that, among other names, Kanye West, Daft Punk, N.W.A, Public Enemy, The Chemical Brothers all shouldn’t be allowed to make music because they all extensively use uncredited sampling in their music.

    Look, I’m not trying to defend Diplo’s harassment (he’s an asshole, plain and simple and the way he responded to this was totally wrong), but this article seriously comes off as anti-DJ/sampling more than anything.

  4. I’ve been an illustrator for a long time. It’s time to be honest. The field is impoverished…dying on the vine as a viable career, and part of it is because of casual abuse like this. There’s gonna have to be some casual lawsuits for casual offenders. That’s sadly the only thing people listen to.

    1. For the curious:

      It’s weird though, since Bill Walsh is generally a writers’ credited name and issue sixteen, the one we used, is the ONLY issue of the True War Romances series to credit him. The only example of Bill Walsh’s penciller credit being signed is here, and it’s as B. Walsh, and written in ink (he’s also credited there as an inker). So I don’t know that this is a golden truth, but: it might be. The info on that site’s taken from here, so anyone interested in creator credits from previous ages, have at it. Plenty to learn.

  5. This DJ has no excuse for his behavior — utterly appalling.

    Is it ironic, however, that there is no artist credit given for the vintage comic book panel used to illustrate this article?

    1. I wouldn’t say ironic. Here’s the page the banner is from:

      Here’s all the information the internet has given me about the series this comic is from:

      So not terribly surprising that we were unable to upload an artist’s credit. Comic books, in the mid 20th century, were not particularly stringent with their crediting! This is a bad tradition based in many doubtless selfish and capitalistic decisions, that has echoed down the ages and is only really being redressed today.

      Thank you for your concern, Terry. If you know the artist or artists, we’d love to talk to them. Please pass on our contact details to any golden age professionals you know!

      1. While Diplo is obviously a shitbag, he didn’t credit Mock initially because he didn’t know who made it. Which is the same non-excuse you’re giving here.

        If you HAD bothered to look into it, you would know that the comic you’re using is in the public domain, along with all of Comic Magazines and most of the books by its parent publisher (Quality Comics), all of which I learned after a three minute Google search.

        That means you don’t have to credit them, but at least crediting the actual comic book it was from would be something.

        1. Buddy ol’ pal, don’t be rude. Why do you think we use those for our stock banners?

          The book this panel crop comes from is clearly labelled in our media library. If that’s not enough for you,

          Well, that’s such a shame!

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