Rihanna – "Pour It Up": Rihanna managed to outrage her own fans with her X-rated video for her 2013 song "Pour It Up." The three-minute film footage was banned from YouTube just 10 minutes after its debut. The fact that a scantily clad Rihanna, twerked, pole-danced and grinded her way through it – at times while spread-eagled on a throne with wads of cash stuffed in her panties – may have had something to do with YouTube’s decision.
Robin Thicke – "Blurred Lines": Robin Thicke’s "Blurred Lines" may not have caused such a stir if it wasn’t coupled with the NSFW explicit version of his music video. Singing “I know you want it” while cavorting with topless models was just too much for some people to take, no matter how infectious the 2013 hit. The inflatable balloons that read “Robin Thicke has a big d**k” and T.I.’s promise to “give you something big enough to tear your a** in two” only added to claims the whole package was misogynistic.
Nirvana – "Heart Shaped Box": A little girl wearing a Ku Klux Klan suit, trying to catch dead fetuses hanging from a tree and an old man being crucified with a pope’s hat on his head. Those were the strange images woven throughout the 1993 video for Nirvana’s "Heart Shaped Box." In 2012 the controversial video took on even stranger proportions when Courtney Love tweeted to Lana Del Rey, “You do know the song is about my vagina, right?”
Prodigy – "Smack My B*tch Up": The song title alone should have indicated the video for the Prodigy’s single "Smack My B*tch Up" wasn’t going to be a Disney cartoon. Initially banned from MTV before being relegated to their late night schedule, the 1997 video included strippers, drugs, drunk driving and an explicit sex scene. The National Organization for Women called the single a “dangerous and offensive message advocating violence against women.”
2 Live Crew – "Me So Horny": There seems to be one theme running through 2 Live Crew’s 1989 video for their hit "Me So Horny”: girls wearing barely-there bikinis grinding — be that in a club, on stage or in a swimming pool. Ironically the woman who – relatively speaking – is wearing the most is filmed pouting and posing in a bedroom.
The 1981 video for Soft Cell’s "Sex Dwarf" looks like a bizarre Roman orgy. It features raw meat being hacked into chunks while a little person, dressed as a male dominatrix, tortures half naked women. It’s a bloody, messy mix that was destined to never get past the censors.
Björk – "Pagan Poetry": Björk singing topless is the tame part of this 2001 video for her song "Pagan Poetry." The scenes of sex, fellatio and body piercings are what led to MTV banning the kooky star’s offering.
Marilyn Manson – "(S)AINT": Interscope Records were so shocked by Marilyn Manson’s 2003 video for his song "(S)AINT" that they didn’t even release it in the U.S. In the three-and-a-half minute video that Manson financed himself he is portrayed snorting and injecting drugs, self-mutilating, masturbating, vomiting and having sex. Verging on pornographic, it also included bondage, naked women and close-ups of a vagina.
M.I.A. – "Born Free": Shoot a nine-minute long music video and, unless you’re Michael Jackson, you virtually guarantee it’s not going to be aired on TV in its entirety. Include footage of redheaded children being beaten, executed and forced to run through a minefield and people will be outraged. British charity Beatbullying slammed M.I.A.’s 2010 "Born Free" video saying it could encourage people to target redheads.
Duran Duran – "Girls On Film": Girls On Film wearing sheer negligee, straddling a pole covered in a whipped cream while having a pillow fight is bound to get the censors’ attention. And it did. That’s why the BBC and MTV banned Duran Duran’s 1981 video for the single of the same name.
Burning crosses, naked sex slaves and dead fetuses hanging from trees. These are just some of the features of the most controversial music videos of all time.