Britney Spears, 2011
Britney Spears came under fire for packing heat with a prop gun on the set of her 'Criminal' music video shot in London's Hackney borough. Local Hackney Council politicians were outraged by the shoot's violent implications following local riots, looting and violence that occurred in the area just weeks earlier. But Brit and her team were unapologetic stating, "The video is a fantasy story featuring Britney's boyfriend, Jason Trawick, which literally plays out the lyrics of a song written three years before the riots ever happened." Stay tuned for the video's premiere to see how the rest of the 'Criminal' case will unfold.
Fiona Apple, 1997
Another outlaw makes our list. Fiona Apple was a criminal in her own right when she released this music video, not for "being careless with a delicate man" as her lyrics suggest, but for glamorizing the sickly skinny supermodel trend of the late '90s in her tiny tank tops and underwear. Apple, who a year later admitted in a Rolling Stone interview that she "definitely had an eating disorder" at the time of the video shoot, was accused of exemplifying the "Heroine Chic" trend ushered in by model Kate Moss and was called "an underfed Calvin Klein model" by the New Yorker upon the video's release.
8. 'Window Seat'
Erykah Badu, 2010
During Erykah Badu's guerrilla-style, crew-less, permit-less 'Window Seat' video shoot, the Dallas native walked the streets of her hometown stripping off her clothes until completely nude at the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, much to the surprise and shock of innocent bystanders. The song ends with the sound of a gunshot, and Badu falls to the ground as her body spills blood and spells out "groupthink." JFK assassination reenactment aside, Badu was charged with disorderly conduct for public nudity, a class C misdemeanor -- a charge that she challenged when she pleaded not guilty -- and eventually paid the $500 fine and agreed to serve six months' probation.
Christina Aguilera Feat. Redman, 2002
Moving past the overtly raunchy exotic dancing in bikini tops and bottomless chaps, Christina Aguilera came under fire from critics for more than just scenes of suggested sexual orgies. The video was banned in Thailand after the translation of Thai text in the background of the boxing scene, hinting at illegal sex trafficking, was revealed. A sign in the video reads "Thailand's sex tourism" and "Young underage girls." Xtina's record label insisted that neither the singer, nor famed director David LaChapelle had a clue what the X-rated signs meant when translated.
6. 'Born Free'
M.I.A.'s graphic music video was meant to act as a piece of social commentary on genocide around the world and the growing anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S. Redheads are hunted by soldiers and beaten, shot and blown up in the violent visuals. Immediately pegged for its scenes of violence and nudity, 'Born Free' was met with much controversy, to which M.I.A responded, "It's amazing to me that is the state we're in today -- people are more moved by something synthetic than something real."
5. 'Love the Way You Lie'
Eminem Feat. Rihanna, 2010
Starring sex-symbol actress Megan Fox and 'Lost' star Dominic Monaghan, Eminem's Rihanna-assisted video for his explicit song about a destructive relationship was slammed by critics for blurring the boundaries of sexy and abusive. Reminding viewers of Eminem and Rihanna's own turbulent past relationships with Kimberly Mathers and Chris Brown, respectively, the video was slammed for glamorizing domestic violence as a beautiful leading lady physically fights with her handsome boyfriend, before passionately making out with him, only to start throwing fists and household objects again.
4. '... Baby One More Time'
Britney Spears, 1998
It may be hard to believe now, but back in 1998, Britney's belly-baring outfits in her debut music video caused quite the outrage among parents associations for its too-hot-for-TV teen sexuality. Catholic schoolgirl-gone-bad, 17-year-old Britney really shook things up when she escaped the confines of the classroom and suggestively danced around in the hallways in midriff-bearing tops.
Rihanna's racy 'S&M' song is about sadomasochistic sexual fantasies, so of course the music video had to match! A latex-clad RiRi is shown tying up and whipping men, simulating sex with blow-up dolls and suggestively sucking on a banana in the video which was banned in 11 countries. In her defense, Rihanna told her critics the video and song were only superficially about sex and that they had missed the deeper meaning. "The song can be taken very literally, but it's actually a very metaphorical song. It's about the love-hate relationship with the media and how sometimes the pain is pleasurable," she told Vogue.
Lady Gaga, 2011
Highly hyped and surrounded by controversy long before its release, Lady Gaga's 'Judas' really ruffled the feathers of member of the catholic community for its secularization of religious themes and Biblical characters. Gaga played a biker-chick version of Mary Magdalene opposite model-turned-actor Norman Reedus as Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, and sexualized the story with scenes of a baptismal menage-a-trois. "This is a stunt ... Lady Gaga tries to continue to shock Catholics and Christians in general," a spokesperson for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights claimed. Gaga's own creative director Laurieann Gibson even threatened to quit working on the piece mid-shoot for fear of being struck by an angry thunderbolt from above! Gaga later defended herself claiming, she's just "obsessed with religious art."
1. 'Like a Prayer'
Before Gaga loved Judas, original boundary and button-pusher extraordinaire Madonna sent the media into a frenzy with her now-iconic iconoclastic music video. Condemned by The Vatican itself, critics accused the video, which took aim at racial profiling and religious guilt, of sacrilege and heresy. With its scenes of burning crucifixes, stigmata, and sexualized Saint statues, Madonna had no apologies for her intentionally controversial art. Pepsi, whose product was featured in the video, canceled their sponsorship contract with Madonna.