A Brief History of Banned Videos

So, it was announced on Twitter over the holiday weekend that the video for “Hurricane” by 30 Seconds To Mars is too “racy” for TV. According to a letter posted by lead singer Jared Leto the claim was made that the video’s bondage theme would prevent it from being aired anytime before 10PM at night. Oh, and there was a shot they’d have to cut if they wanted the video to air on TV at all.

This is hardly the first time a music video has been censored and/or banned. Anyone who’s watched MTV has probably noticed certain lyrics are bleeped, changed or otherwise altered, either for strong language or content (IE: in the MTV airing of the video for My Chemical Romance’s song “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” the word “drugs” is censored). But for a video to be 100% BANNED from MTV? That tends to take some doing.

In making a video that has ended up banned, 30 Seconds to Mars joins an elite group of artists. Let’s take a look at some other banned videos.

Warning: I suppose it should go without saying in this case, but these videos are, well, a little bit much. They’re banned for a reason. They could be upsetting or triggering to certain people. Watch with caution.

Let’s just get this out of the way: Madonna is the queen of banned videos. She’s had a whopping 4 videos banned from MTV: “American Life” (which was replaced with another, air-able version), “Erotica,” “Justify My Love” and “What It Feels Like For a Girl.”

But that’s not her only involvement with banned videos. Prodigy, a band signed to Madonna’s label, had their video for “Smack My Bitch Up” banned due to explicit content.

Madge has also been the inspiration for artists who have seen videos banned. I’m speaking in this case of Lady Gaga, who’s video for “Alejandro” was banned from MTV proper, but did air on MTV Hits.

But, believe it or not, there are artists who manage to get their videos banned without Madonna’s help. Marylin Manson, for example, was quite capable of getting his video for “Coma White” banned all by himself.

Hell, even QUEEN managed to get a music video banned. MTV refused to air the video for “Body Language” because of content.

But I’m still wondering why “Hurricane” was REALLY banned. The claim, as I mentioned above, is that the bondage theme is so negative…but my question is whether it’s because of the “sex” angle or the “violence” angle. Both are reasons to ban a video, but it seems like “sex” gets banned a lot more than “violence” these days.

Or, as this Tweet so nicely puts it: