David Bowie’s latest music video featuring him as a Christ-like figure surrounded by women in skimpy outfits and priests in a bar was banned by video sharing website YouTube on Wednesday.
The video-sharing site temporarily took down the new music video for his song “The Next Day” over what it initially cited as offensive content thanks to the Thin White Duke’s heavy use of religious imagery.
Though the video doesn’t feature any nudity â€” just a nun-like waif writing in pointy gold pasties â€” the graphic religious imagery apparently warranted enough concern for YouTube to temporarily pull the clip.
The video stars Oscar-winning French actress Marion Cotillard as a woman with stigmata with blood spurting from her wounds as well as Gary Oldman as a priest condemning Bowie.
However, the gory video, which shows Marion spraying blood from a stigmata in her wrists, is back on the site with an adult-only over-18 rating.
YouTube admitted making the “wrong call” in removing the video, and reinstated it with an adult content warning.
A spokesman for YouTube said: “With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it.”
Writing inÂ The Telegraph, former Archbishop of Cantebury Lord Carey states that the video is “juvenile” and criticises Bowie for “upsetting people”.
“If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery perhaps Christians should not worry too much at such an exploitation of religious imagery,” Carey writes.
Â “I doubt that Bowie would have the courage to use Islamic imagery – I very much doubt it. Frankly, I don’t get offended by such juvenilia – Christians should have the courage to rise above offensive language, although I hope Bowie will recognise that he may be upsetting some people.”
The video sees Bowie performing in a basement bar, surrounded by religious figures, with Gary Oldman showed in priest’s garb walking around what looks like a brothel. In one corner, a man whips his bloody back.
In another scene, a cardinal passes out cash to scantily clad dancers. A woman with a veil drawn over her face has a platter with two eyeballs staring up from it.
Cotillard swivels seductively, only to collapse with blood pouring from her stigmata wounds.
The video was written and created by Bowie and directed by the Italian filmmaker Floria Sigismondi, who made the 2010 rock drama “The Runaways.”
“The Next Day” is the third video off the album which shares the same title. “Where Are We Now?” – Bowie’s comeback single – debuted with its own video, and “The Stars Are (Out Tonight)” got a treatment that featured Tilda Swinton, says the Huff Post.
Oldman previously worked with Bowie in the 1990s, when they performed a duet on guitarist Reeves Gabrels’ 1995 album The Sacred Squall of Now.
His new album, also called The Next Day, put him back on top of the British album charts for the first time in 20 years.
Bowie had shunned the limelight since suffering a heart attack on tour in 2004 and last performed on stage since 2006.
Produced by his long-time collaborator Tony Visconti, The Next Day is Bowie’s first new work since Reality a decade ago, and his first chart-topping success since 1993’s Black Tie White Noise, writes the Times of India.