Twitter is divided over New York Magazine’s recent ‘nepo babies’ cover

‘Nepo babies’ have all but taken over Hollywood in 2022, but their presence and success has prompted debate following a recent New York Magazine cover. 

The internet has reacted to a recent magazine cover featuring Hollywood’s leading ‘nepotism babies’, which was published by New York Magazine in the early hours of this morning (December 20). The publication’s latest cover declared 2022 as “the year of the nepo baby”, in reference to the popular term describing young celebrities presumed to benefit from nepotism given their famous parents. The cover superimposed the heads of a slew of ‘nepo baby’ celebrities onto the bodies of small children, prompting debate about the broader influence of this particular kind of star in 2022. 

Among the floating heads on the New York Magazine cover was actress-musician Maya Hawke, the daughter of Hollywood veterans Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke. Elsewhere, Lenny Kravitz’s daughter Zoe and Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose also feature on the cover, alongside comedy director Judd Apatow’s child Maude and actor Dennis Quaid’s son Jack. Actors Ben Platt and Dakota Johnson round out the cover’s cohort of famous faces.   

So-called ‘nepo babies’ Maya Hawke, Lily-Rose Depp and Jaden Smith. Credit: Netflix; Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images; Rich Fury/ Getty Images

The article accompanying the instantly memeable cover traces the so-called “nepo-baby boom”, analysing the public’s equal parts admiration and contempt for young celebrities with famous parents. The same debate has been waged online for much of this year, as audiences connect the famous familial dots of rising stars with increasing frequency. The cover story formed one of many investigative pieces by New York Magazine, who elsewhere looked for ‘nepo babies’ in sport, and predicted a future class of ‘nepo babies’ in the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian’s children.

Both the New York Magazine article and the broader internet discourse has pointed to ‘nepo babies’ as examples of Hollywood’s favouritism, leading to bigger discussions around meritocracy across all industries. While it analyses the ease of discounting a celebrity’s success based on their parents, New York Magazine writer Nate Jones ultimately finds that ‘nepo babies’ have existed long before the term was coined, and concedes that much of the cohort wouldn’t have achieved success without their clear talent. 

Beyonce with daughter Blue Ivy and Jay-Z
Credit: New York Magazine/ Vulture

This is the nepo baby’s credo: Try, and if at first you don’t succeed, remember you’re still a celebrity’s child, so try, try again,” Jones wrote. “We love them, we hate them, we disrespect them, we’re obsessed with them… Paradoxically, the nepo babies we like best are often the ones who are most privileged.” Just as the mere existence of these stars has spurred debate, so too has the magazine cover itself, with users flocking to Twitter to share differing opinions on the publication’s comical take on nepotism. 

Check out some of the most pressing (and funniest) Twitter talking points around New York Magazine’s ‘nepo baby’ cover below.