Two days ago, DJ and well-known dick Diplo posted to Instagram a photo of a fan at a concert—ostensibly Diplo-themed—holding a poster. On the poster is a picture of a towheaded toddler, flaunting a spectacular bowl cut. The words “I love ü Thomas West”—Diplo’s first and middle name is Thomas Wesley—are written beneath.
The image, which has received more than 32,000 likes and was captioned “💙 Hardfest fans be like 💙”, seems to be an enlarged, printed-out copy of a childhood portrait. That photo, which was hand-labeled “Wes 2 yrs,” presumably by someone in his family (his parents called him Wesley as a child), has been posted to Diplo’s Instagram at least three times. He shared it most recently 10 weeks ago, with the caption “Young boss.”
Did Diplo steal my friend Kate’s face? Perhaps. But here’s a more plausible theory: Kate’s father, Robert McNeely, is a successful professional photographer who snapped the initial picture that Diplo posted. Over email, Kate wrote: “My dad may have used that photo as a promo for his photo studio back in 1988 in DC but that’s the only way it could have gone out.” Later, she said that her dad told her he never used the photo as a promo, and that it was never published in a magazine or anywhere else, at least to his knowledge.
Perhaps, at some point, Diplo’s family stumbled across the portrait somewhere, and, because they do look kind of similar, then confused Kate’s face with their son’s, after which they then somehow mislabeled the photo? It’s...possible. Here’s another childhood photo he posted to Instagram, about six weeks before he shared Kate’s picture:
Blonde hair, big cheeks, and kind of the same color eyes, sure, but that’s clearly a different kid. Is Diplo trying to steal my friend Kate’s identity? Have his parents been lying to him about his baby pictures the whole time? Is my friend Kate something of a god to Diplo’s family, to the extent that Kate iconography decorates the walls of their home? To help clear things up, I emailed his reps and asked him about the scandal on Twitter:
I’ll update as soon as I hear back.
UPDATE 2:33: Diplo thinks someone may have given him the photo a while ago as a “joke.”