13 Bizarre, Controversial, Or Downright Gross Moments From Famous Music Videos

Music videos are often the best part of a new song being released by your favorite artist, and as time goes on, they're getting more and more extravagant. We love to see it!

Taylor Swift lies naked in a bath filled with diamonds

For example, this scene from Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" cost $12M alone.

Big Machine / Via youtube.com

Of course, there have been some extremely divisive videos that have come out over the past decade, which definitely didn't go over too well with the general public. Here are the most controversial music video moments of all time...


1.Taylor Swift's scale in "Anti-Hero".

Feet standing on a bathroom scale that has no numbers, it just reads "fat"

In the video for Taylor Swift's "Anti-Hero," all her biggest fears are played out on-screen – including a scene where she steps onto a scale that reads "fat". While some fans argued that Taylor was just trying to portray her experience with an eating disorder, others took a lot of issue with the word "fat" being weaponized and seen as a bad thing.

Within a few days, the scene was edited out of the video on YouTube and Apple Music.


2.Madonna burning crosses and being overtly sexual in "Like A Prayer."

Madonna dancing in a bustier in front of a giant flaming cross

Madonna has always pushed the envelope, but she had a lot of complaints about her 1989 video "Like A Prayer" in particular. The combo of burning crosses, sexy dancing, and a Black Jesus-like figure was simply too much for conservatives at the time. Pepsi — who Madonna was in a contract with at the time — condemned the video, as did Vatican City.

Director Mary Lambert still stands by the video saying, “Why not a Black Jesus? Why can’t you imagine kissing him? I wanted to speak about ecstasy and show the relationship between sexual and religious ecstasy. I think that subconsciously a lot of people understood this and were either enthralled or outraged by it.”

Sire / Warner Brothers / Via youtube.com

3.Eminem's fan killing his girlfriend in "Stan."

Devon Sawa dressed as Eminem, looking in the mirror while his girlfriend yells at him

If you don't remember, the video clip for Eminem's 2000 track "Stan" is a nine-minute epic. It follows the story of one of his superfans named Stan, played by '90s heartthrob Devon Sawa, who puts his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car and drives them both off of a bridge.

Obviously, it's pretty confronting material and was heavily censored when aired on TV by MTV and Fuse. But the legacy of the song still lives on. Nowadays, we use "stan" to describe an obsessive fan.

Aftermath / Interscope / Via youtube.com

4.The naked models in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."

A naked Emily Ratajkowski is leaning against Robin Thicke wearing a suit

If the song's lyrics weren't icky enough, the video really stepped it up a notch. It featured three undressed models, including Emily Ratajkowsi, dancing around, while all the guys kept their clothes on.

A Vice review called it "horrible, misogynistic bullshit" adding "the level of stupidity and arrogance required in order for a video this banal, offensive and unimaginative is almost impressive."

Star Trak / Interscope / Via youtube.com

5.Lil Nas X giving the devil a lap dance in "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)."

Lil Nas X giving a lap dance to someone dressed as the devil in a room with flaming red walls and giant skills

First of all, the song is literally about gay sex, so it wasn't ever going to go over super well with the conservatives around the world. The video shows Lil Nas X riding a stripper pole down to hell and proceeding to give the devil a very sexy lap dance. While it was praised by a ton of people, of course, there were a lot of "why won't somebody think of the children" complaints.

Lil Nas replied on Twitter: "There is a mass shooting every week that our government does nothing to stop. Me sliding down a CGI pole isn't what's destroying society."

Columbia / Via youtube.com

6.Christina Aguilera's outfit choice in "Dirrty."

Christina Aguilera in the music video for Dirty, dancing in a group of people

Nowadays this video seems pretty tame (and is also an iconic Halloween costume). But back in 2002 when X-tina dropped "Dirrty," there was a LOOOTTTT of outrage at her outfit and how she was dressed.

Entertainment Weekly described her as "the world's skeeziest reptile woman," while Time wrote that she looked like she came “direct from an intergalactic hooker convention."

However, over time, we came to love it: in 2018, Billboard put "Dirrty" on their list of most iconic music videos of the century, calling it "ahead of its time."

RCA / Via youtube.com

7.Rihanna leading Perez Hilton around on a dog chain in "S&M."

Perez Hilton is wearing a suit and a leather harness, cocking his leg and peeing on a pink hydrant outside a suburban house, Rihanna stands behind him in a gown

Okay, the video for "S&M" was always going to be kinky...it's right there in the title. But some viewers didn't know what they were in for and complained loudly at the explicit sexual imagery in the video, including a scene where Rihanna has Perez Hilton on a dog leash.

It was banned in 11 countries and age-restricted on YouTube — Rihanna responded by making the full video available on her website to be watched anywhere.

Def Jam / Via youtube.com

8.Kanye West's body doubles in "Famous."

Kanye West lying in bed next to naked mannequins made to look like Rihanna, Chris Brown, and Taylor Swift

Back in 2016, Kanye West dropped the track "Famous," which was controversial in itself for the lyrics about Taylor Swift: "I made that bitch famous." Of course, he took it to the next level with his video clip, which showed him and Kim in bed with people who looked a LOT like Taylor, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Ray J, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, and Bill Cosby.

None of these celebs consented to have their likenesses in the video, and people especially were outraged by Kanye's choice to put "Rihanna" next to "Chris Brown."

Tidal / GOOD Music

9.A girl grabbing a fetus hanging from a tree in Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box."

child dressed in white with a Klu Klux Klan hood on with a cross with three crows on it

Yikes. Nirvana did love to push the envelope but this one went too far for a lot of people. The video for "Heart-Shaped Box," released in 1993, featured kids in KKK outfits, fetuses hanging from a tree, and an old man climbing onto a cross. Though TIME ranked it as one of the best music videos of all time, it ruffled a lot of feathers.

Pachyderm / Via youtube.com

10.R. Kelly's appearance in Lady Gaga's "Do What U Want."

Lady Gaga lies on a bed, naked under a sheet, R.Kelly wears black scrubs and stands over her

Though at the time, R. Kelly had been acquitted of his 2002 sexual misconduct charges, Lady Gaga fans had a lot of issues with him appearing as a feature on her song "Do What U Want." Especially as the chorus lyrics are, “Do what you want with my body."

Things got worse when the video clip was released, which was directed by Terry Richardson — who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. One scene in the video shows Gaga as a sleeping patient lying on a table, with R. Kelly dressed as a doctor reaching under the sheet covering her. Pitchfork described the video as "Kelly hosting a softcore orgy with Gaga's anesthetized body."

Gaga removed the single from streaming platforms in 2019 after the documentary Surviving R. Kelly was released. "If I could go back and have a talk with my younger self I'd tell her to go through the therapy I have since then, so that I could understand the confused post-traumatic state that I was in," Gaga wrote about her choices when making this song and video.

Streamline / Interscope

11.The mass genocide of redheads in M.I.A.'s "Born Free."

A redhead child looks scared as they stand in a desert with a gun pointed at their head

The video clip for M.I.A.'s single "Born Free" was written as a commentary on the brutal 26-year civil war in the singer's homeland of Sri Lanka. It showed the story of a genocide where people with red hair were rounded up and killed, including a scene of a child getting shot in the head.

The video was banned from YouTube, before getting reposted with a disclaimer. M.I.A. responded to the backlash by saying: “I find the new Justin Bieber video more violent and more of an assault to my eyes and senses than what I’ve made.”

XL Recordings

12.Maddie Ziegler's nude bodysuit in Sia's "Elastic Heart."

Shia LaBeouf, wearing nude boxers, and Maddie Ziegler in a nude bodysuit and white wig are inside a cave, she is biting his hand

Sia has done a number of controversial things during the course of her career, but her "Elastic Heart" video from 2015 was one of her first big ones. It starred Dance Moms queen, Maddie Ziegler, and Shia LaBeouf, who danced together in matching nude bodysuits. Which would be fine, but at the time Maddie was just 11 years old, and a lot of people took issue with the fact she was dancing with a 30-year-old, calling it "creepy" and "disgusting."

Sia apologized on Twitter: "I anticipated some 'pedophelia!!!' cries for this video. I apologize to those who feel triggered by 'Elastic Heart'. My intention was to create some emotional content, not to upset anybody."

RCA / Republic / Via youtu.be

13.t.A.T.u. kissing in “All the Things She Said.”

A close up of two girls who are about to kiss in the pouring rain

All my '90s babies will remember this one fondly. Back in 2000, Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. dropped the iconic single, “All the Things She Said,” about two young teen girls falling for each other. The video showed them in school uniforms running away from home and eventually making out.

Though it was censored in Russia and banned in the UK, a number of publications listed it as one of the sexiest music videos of all time, which caused controversy in itself as both girls were 15 at the time.

Universal / Interscope / Via youtube.com

Is there another video you'd add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.