Say what you want about Travis Scott’s decision to remove trans model Amanda Lepore from one of the final versions of his new album cover – it’s certainly gained him a lot of attention surrounding Astroworld’s release. The Instagram post in which the rapper revealed the artwork has over 26,000 comments and most of them are in his favour (brace yourself for a lot of hate and transphobia if you want to see for yourself).
Anyway, now photographer David LaChapelle, the creator of the original image featuring Lepore – a regular subject in his work, incidentally – has chimed in to explain the omission. "Amanda was taken out because she just upstaged everyone," he wrote in an Instagram comment, adding that her removal “had nothing to do with hating”.
To be fair, Lepore is in a pretty eye-catching pose on the original album artwork, leaning forward in a thong and sheer stockings, but does she really steal that much attention on an album cover filled with girls in similar positions and clothing (or lack thereof)? Well, maybe, but then again Travis Scott isn’t known for his inclusivity, having said some pretty questionable things in the past.
Regardless, LaChapelle’s explanation doesn’t go very far to explaining why Lepore wasn’t told beforehand. Instead, the model was left wondering why she had been removed when the cover dropped, as revealed in another Instagram post.