Vampire Weekend - Contra - Controversial Album Cover

Vampire Weekend - Contra - Controversial Album Cover

Posted by MATT LEHMAN on Aug 24th 2023

Vampire Weekend - Contra  Released in January 2010.

This is their second studio album. The title comes from the 1987 Nintendo video game.

The photo was found by Rostam Batmanglij while searching "New York City 1983" on Flickr. The rest of the band all liked it and its mixed message, meaning, what was her emotional state, what was she trying to convey, etc.

The Original Photograph was taken by Tod Brody took the pic in 83

On July 15, 2010, Vampire Weekend, along with XL recordings and Brody, were sued by Ann Kirsten Kennis, the woman who identified herself as the woman on the cover, for $2 million for using the photo without her permission. Kennis has said that the photo was taken while she was "a high-fashion model under contract with prestigious agencies in New York City." In addition, Kennis said that the release forms for the photo that was allegedly signed by Kennis herself, were forged. She said she saw the photo when her daughter brought home the album and showed it to her.

Her lawyer also mentioned that Brody did not take the photo and said that it was taken by Kennis' mother. Despite this claim, Brody claims that he took the photo and says that he had the photo for 26 years until Vampire Weekend discovered it on his Flickr page and bought it for five thousand dollars. Kennis' own former agent, Sue Charney, told Vanity Fair, "To me it is very clearly a Polaroid taken at a casting session".

Kennis claimed her mother took the picture because there's a door frame in the background, she has little make-up on, and she isn't dressed for a casting photo.  

In December 2010, Vampire Weekend filed their own lawsuit against Brody, which argued that he would be liable for any damages Kennis would receive, due to misrepresentation. And this went it all went to hell for Brody.  It took weeks to find Brody, his lawyer dropped him as a client, because he was belligerent and difficult to work with, and he ended up representing himself and countersued them.

On August 15, 2011, it was announced that Kennis had dropped her lawsuit against XL Recordings and Vampire Weekend after they paid Kennis an undisclosed sum. However, the separate lawsuits against Brody from Kennis were not dropped.

And then the trail ends. I saw that a judge dropped all litigations after they settled out of court, but I’m not a lawyer.  

Tod Brody was considered a shyster by many and had several lawsuits against him before and after this case.  He seemed to be able to weasel himself out of most of them before his death in 2015.