Whether it’s drugs, sex or violence, music artists nowadays will incorporate anything into their music videos to get the people talking. From Rihanna to Marilyn Manson, these artists have landed themselves in hot water after releasing controversial video clips. These videos have pushed boundaries with graphic scenes, raised eyebrows with sensitive themes and given our list of sexiest videos a run for their money. They’ve made you gasp, they’ve made you cringe and they’ve made you say “WTF”. Here are the 10 most controversial music videos to ever hit MTV and YouTube…
Cover your eyes if you’re one to blush!
10. Eminem feat. Dido – Stan
Eminem is no stranger to controversy. His visual for Stan is just one of the many shocking music videos he released back in the early 2000s. The clip had to be cut for MTV in order to remove controversial scenes showing domestic abuse and drunk driving. The sinister music video tells the story of Stan, an obsessed Eminem fan who maddens every time the rapper ignores him. Out of his rage, Stan gags his pregnant wife and put her in the back of a car before committing suicide. It’s safe to say this was far cry from Eminem’s usual, funnier video clips…
9. Sia – Elastic Heart
Sia’s music video for Elastic Heart gained criticism for presumably promoting pedophilia. The artistic video which showed 29-year-old Shia LeBeouf and 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler wearing nude suits and dancing in a cage together offended many viewers who felt the clip had perverted overtones. Sia, however affirmed that the video promoted none of the sort – “I thought it would be interesting if Shia was working with Maddie as if she’s one of his self states, maybe his inner child or maybe one of his demons. We switch between her representing some of his self states,” she explained on Twitter.
8. Nicki Minaj – Anaconda
Booty-popping, lap-dancing and girl-on-girl action isn’t the best way to win a feminist’s heart. Nicki Minaj’s video for Anaconda was panned for objectifying the female body. The hypersexualised video shows Nicki twerking, spreading her legs and slapping other women’s butt cheeks. Nicki was even accused of pitting skinny women against curvier women with her lyrics such as, “f**k the skinny bitches, f**k the skinny bitches”.
7. Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money
She’s stripped off for magazine covers and openly smoked marijuana, but this might just be Rihanna’s craziest act yet. The Bajan beauty gets her hands dirty in the music video for Bitch Better Have My Money. The clip that could be taken for a short movie shows Rihanna getting revenge on a man who owes her money. After kidnapping and torturing his wife by swinging her from the ceiling and forcing her to take drugs, Rihanna gets blood on her hands by murdering her enemy. The video then ends with a naked and blood-soaked RiRi lying in a trunk full of cash. The Daily Mail called the video “repulsive” and said it featured an “endless stream of filthy, violent and downright misogynistic images”.
6. Lady Gaga feat. R Kelly – Do What You Want
Gaga’s music video for Do What You Want was so scandalous; it was banned from being released. We can only show you a snippet of the clip because it’s literally nowhere to be found. The controversial video that showed Gaga being sedated by R Kelly was deemed “an ad for rape”. In the video, R Kelly is seen groping Gaga and doing whatever he wants to her body while she’s out cold on an operating table. A group of girls dressed as nurses then mishandle her before she frolics around naked and starts humping the floor. What makes the video even more disturbing is the fact that Gaga is joined by two controversial men – one who was tried on counts of child pornography (R Kelly) and another who was accused of lewd sexual conduct by numerous models (Richardson). #Awkward!
5. Nirvana – Heart-shaped Box
It doesn’t get more bizarre or controversial than this. Nirvana’s video for Heart-Shaped Box caused a stir for featuring graphical images of unborn babies, an old man on a crucifix and a little girl in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. The surreal visual used a Wizard of Oz theme and turned it into something only nightmares are made of. Despite its offensive imagery, the Heart-shaped Box video went on to win two MTV VMA awards in 1994. Don’t ask us why…
4. Madonna – Like a Prayer
Madonna was bashed after releasing her controversial music video for Like a Prayer. The pop song was accompanied by a video that angered several religious organizations. Among scandalous scenes of stigmata and burning crosses, Madonna seduces a saint, Martin de Porres in the visual. Pepsi even cancelled a commercial that was Madonna was meant to star in following the release of this sensitive video.
3. M.I.A – Born Free
This unsettling music video is enough to leave you traumatized for a week. M.I.A’s clip for Born Free follows a SWAT team as they round up redheads and slaughter them in a field. The 9-minute visual features sensitive scenes such as a close-up of a child getting shot and a young boy’s body exploding following a bomb attack. Although the video was meant to be a statement against genocide and racial profiling, audiences couldn’t help but feel sickened by it.
2. Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
Considering the song’s title, it’s safe to assume that this video isn’t going to be filled with sunshine and rainbows. Prodigy’s super-explicit video was considered controversial for promoting violence against women. Named the “Most Controversial Video” in MTV’s history, the clip included scenes of drunk driving, cocaine use, violence, nudity and sex. Recorded from a first-person perspective, the dizzying video was accused of misogyny, despite its twist ending which revealed the protagonist to be a woman.
1. Marilyn Manson – (s)AINT
We warn you – this video clip is NOT for the faint-hearted. It came as no surprise to learn that Marilyn Manon’s label, Interscope Records refused to release the video for (s)AINT in the U.S. The vulgar visual featured graphic scenes of self-mutilation, full female nudity, masturbation, cocaine snorting and cunnilingus. The video was so explicit, people had to pay to watch it. Manson released the uncut, banned and original version of the music video on a DVD. The only way to buy this DVD was by ordering it through his website. Somehow, the NSFW clip later made it to YouTube…
Feeling shocked and shaken? We bet! If these music videos didn’t make you say WTF, we don’t know what will!
Which video did you find most controversial?