On Thursday, NME shared the cover for the latest issue of their magazine. The issue's theme is mental health and the cover, which features a picture of Stormzy, reads, "Depression: it's time to talk."
But Stormzy, who recently spoke on his personal struggles with mental health in an interview with Channel 4, says he didn't grant the magazine permission to use him as the cover star. "You lot are a bunch of real life fucking pussyholes," the grime star wrote on Twitter. "Proper dickheads. We've had a good relationship before this, why do you think it is kool to use my me as a poster boy for such a sensitive issue without permission?"
Stormzy said that not only had his image been published without his permission, but he had explicitly denied requests from NME to appear on the cover. "The reason I'm so angry is because NME have been begging me to be on their cover. I have refused. Then they do this," he wrote. "So after me refusing to be on their cover. They then see me talking bout my journey with depression and think yeah we've got him now."
NME's editor-in-chief Mike Williams responded to the grime artist on Twitter, writing, "I’m sorry that you didn’t know your image would be our cover. Our intentions were only positive." He added, "We used your image as we felt it would resonate most with our readers, and I can only apologise again that you didn’t know...We're a free magazine and were not trying to shift copies, just talk about something important."
In a reply, Stormzy wrote, "DEAD. You're NOT a non-profit organisation. The more copies you dish out the more you charge for advertising. You will make money from this."
Representatives for Stormzy and NME were not immediately available for comment.
This story has been updated to include NME's response to Stormzy on Twitter.