In a new Instagram update, German visual artist Timo Helgert (@vacades on Instagram) has responded further to allegations that SM Entertainment plagiarized his 3D renders for use in their new girl group’s music video, “Black Mamba” by aespa.
On March 30 this year, Timo Helgert uploaded a 3D render video of a giant snake slithering through a subway cart to his Instagram account.
Shortly after the release of the teaser for aespa’s “Black Mamba”, fans noticed it looked almost identical to a scene in the music video.
A week prior, Helgert also shared a video of butterflies flying through a subway cart filled with grass and flowers.
A very similar scene appeared at the end of NCT U‘s “Make a Wish (Birthday Song)” music video, which was later revealed to be a teaser for aespa.
As soon as the similarities came to light, concerned fans contacted Timo Helgert to let him know his work may have been plagiarized. He later updated his Instagram account with a Story saying it seems like SM Entertainment “copied” his work, and that he didn’t receive any communication from the company beforehand.
Now, the visual artist has posted an update to the situation. In a new Instagram story, Helgert revealed that he’s recently been in contact with the music video director for “Black Mamba” to discuss the plagiarism controversy. He started his statement by telling followers he wants to clarify the recent talk surrounding the issue on various online forums.
Despite the similarities, Helgert says that he and the director have come to an understanding about “each other’s creative processes“. Though he did not elaborate on whether he still believes his work inspired the aespa music video, it appears the visual artist does not intend to take the initial plagiarism allegations any further.
Closing his statement, Helgert expressed his support for aespa, wishing them “the best with their debut“. The group is still currently promoting “Black Mamba” on music shows, and the music video has reached over 50 million views on YouTube to date.
Timo Helgert is not the only alleged plagiarism victim to resolve his issues with SM Entertainment so far. After fans noticed striking similarities between aespa’s teasers and the work of Brian Huynh, the photographer responded on Instagram telling followers he was “flattered” to see his work used as inspiration and wished aespa “tons of success“.
I am NOT upset!! I think it’s a bit of a strange thing for a company to do, but it does not personally offend me.
— Brian Huynh
However, some are still yet to respond. The company has also been accused to using ideas from Riot Games virtual K-Pop group KDA as well as choreography by JYP Entertainment girl group ITZY. Neither company has spoken up on the allegations to date.