“There is suggestion of some kind of sexual violation, but you wouldn’t be able to figure out what the robot could do to her,” explains Williams. “She did have her panties around her ankles and she did have one breast exposed. Now, in the other half of this painting, there’s this monster jumping over the fence to avenge her.
“I have not gone without avenging this graphic crime.”
Williams told the band fine, use it. But he warned them the cover would probably land them in trouble with religious and feminist groups. It did. One organization famously referred to it as a “glorification of rape.”
The band rallied to his defense, singer Axl Rose telling MTV that he thought people were overlooking Williams’ artistic genius.
“I think since it was such an outrageous picture that the skill gets overlooked,” said Rose, standing alongside Williams in an interview shortly after the album’s release. “A lot more people, I think, are turned on to Robert’s artwork (because of the album) than were before, and I’m really glad to be a part of that.”
But the band ultimately caved and yanked the artwork.
The painting caused a stir again in 2012 when a reformed Guns N’ Roses used the image in a concert poster and companion DVD. Subsequent copies of the DVD still employ the Williams painting, but in denuded form. The girl is removed, the painting devoid of its original power.