In the video for her latest song, “Man Down,” Rihanna sings to a reggae beat about avenging a sexual assault by shooting the perpetrator in the head. The sexual assault isn’t displayed in detail, but the shot to the head is. The Parents Television Council has protested the video as violent and inappropriate, calling on BET and MTV to stop airing it. When news of the backlash got back to Rihanna on June 2, she tweeted, “I’m a 23 year old rockstar with NO KIDS! What’s up with everybody wantin me to be a parent?” and later: “U can’t hide your kids from society, or they’ll never learn how to adapt! This is the REAL WORLD!” When BET refused to pull the video, Paul Porter, a co-founder of Industry Ears, a think tank that supports banning the video, said, “While we all agree rape is a terrible crime, ‘Man Down’ offers no positive solution for rape victims except vigilante justice.”
This isn’t the first time a Rihanna video has been called into question. Earlier in 2011, her song “S&M” generated a video full of all the things you would expect a song of that title to contain: chains, whips, sexually suggestive poses and bare skin. The video was banned in 11 countries; users trying to watch it on YouTube have to verify their age.
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