The Dare sparks anger with sexualized children in disturbing EP cover

‘This is pure and simple pedophilia’: NYC-based musician known as the ‘The Dare’ faces backlash for using children in disturbing cover for new album ‘The Sex’ that contains lyrics about girls, sex and drugs

  • Harrison Patrick Smith, 27, on May 12 launched his first EP, The Sex, with a provocative cover featuring what appeared to be children in sexual poses
  • Smith, who records as The Dare, produces music known as ‘indie sleaze’: he was signed by Taylor Swift and Drake’s label, Republic Records, in April
  • Critics accused Smith, who until December was a fill-in teacher at a private school in Manhattan’s West Village, of promoting pedophilia

A New York-based ‘indie sleaze’ musician has been accused of glamorizing pedophilia with a provocative album cover showing models who appeared to be children in sexual poses.

Harrison Patrick Smith, 27, records as The Dare.

As recently as December he was working as a substitute teacher at a private school in the West Village: in April, he signed to Taylor Swift and Drake’s label, Republic Records – a division of Universal Music Group.

Smith’s debut EP, The Sex, was out on May 12, and its cover features two young girls, who seem to be children.

Both are dressed in girlish clothes: One, in what looks like a school sports kit, is being bent over by a man, while the other in a gray pleated school-style skirt straddles a man lying on his back.

Harrison Patrick Smith, 27, who records as The Dare, released his first album this month, and the cover immediately sparked anger

Smith was until December a teacher in Manhattan: in April, he signed with Taylor Swift and Drake’s label, Republic Records

The record label embraced the controversy, tweeting: ‘have a good time to ‘the sex ep’ by @itsthedare – we dare you.’

They accompanied the tweet with the album cover, and a winking emoji.

‘This is pure and simple paedophilia,’ wrote one commenter.

‘Disgusting. I hope all adults involved are shamed and held accountable,’ said another.

One commented: ‘I’m sure they just look like children- but the inference is disgusting and I’m sure designed to get publicity via notoriety.’

Another said: ‘This isn’t going to go the way you think. Why are you promoting the sexual exploitation of young girls? 

‘It’s not acceptable, child abuse is not edgy. Pedophilia is not acceptable.’

On the Instagram post, a child psychotherapist said the image was deeply disturbing.

‘This is depicting paedophilia, I repeat it is a paedophilic image,’ she said. 

‘Its appalling. ‘When someone tells you who they are, believe them.’ You’ve told us who you are. 

‘I am a childrens psychotherapist, well trained in child safeguarding. This needs to be taken down.’

Another commented: ‘This image is child abuse and not art! I can’t understand how this was approved.

‘This is paedophilia hiding in plain sight.

‘I’m also concerned about the girls agents/parents, are they happy with this image too. Disgusting and appalled.’

The photo was taken by Leander Capuozzo, a Staten Island-born photographer and artist.

‘The sex ep art by me,’ he tweeted – and was met by a barrage of condemnation.

Smith has been hailed recently as a new wunderkind, with W Magazine calling him on May 17 a ‘New York star’ whose ‘career has already eclipsed those of many of his forebears’, and GQ magazine labelling him ‘a downtown celebrity and burgeoning rock star’.

He DJs at club nights in lower Manhattan, and has played an afterparty following Celine’s fashion launch: in January, he was front row at a Gucci show in Milan, seated next to Nick Cave.

Neither Capuozzo, Smith nor Republic Records have responded to’s requests for comment. 

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