Success! MTV Networks Won’t Air “Monster”


Written by Sharon Haywood, co-editor of Adios Barbie

It’s not easy to forget those uncut clips of Kanye West’s music video “Monster” that were leaked online back in December and January. But thanks to you, MTV and VH1, part of MTV Networks, have chosen not to air the official version of “Monster,” which bears much resemblance to the earlier excerpts. We believe that your signatures on the Care2 petition, an incredible 16,000, played an enormous role in their decision.

Fetishized violence assumes the video’s starring role: nearly naked women dead by hanging, decapitation, and just dead (or drugged) enough to be played with in bed like a sex toy. It’s what prompted us (Melinda Tankard Reist, Collective Shout, Coalition Against Trafficking Women Australia and Adios Barbie) to create a petition against the official release of “Monster.” But it was YOU who took the time to insist that violence against women is unacceptable, even if labeled as art.

In March, we discovered that MTV sent West and Def Jam (the creators of the video; its parent company, Universal Music Group or UMG only distributes Def Jam content) back to the production studio to make edits. It was a move in the right direction but we knew we had to keep the campaign alive. You recognized that hate speech is not the same as free speech and your support continued to grow into the thousands.

When the video was officially released on June 5, the anticipated edits were practically non-existent. Except of course, for the disclaimer, which I wrote about at Adios Barbie earlier this week:

The only thing that was strikingly different from the leaked clips was the disclaimer at the beginning of the video: “The following content is in no way to be interpreted as misogynistic or negative towards any groups of people. It is an art piece and shall be taken as such.” It might as well have read: “Warning: The following content may cause physical and emotional upset such as nausea and seething anger” because the final cut still contained the same sexually violent images that sparked our activism in the first place. It’s obvious that the inclusion of a disclaimer tells us that someone at Def Jam, UMG, or even West himself is paying attention to our protest. Note to artists and producers: A disclaimer does not erase nor excuse misogynistic content.

It seems that MTV agrees. This past week, the network confirmed that MTV and VH1 will not provide airtime to “Monster.” Although UMG, the other target of our petition, refused to provide a statement and take a stand on the issue, we have delivered a potent message to the music industry. Preventing the distribution of one video won’t automatically produce responsible and respectful depictions of women overnight but we have taken one positive step forward.  It is because of each and every one of you that MTV Networks paid attention to our message: Eroticized violence against women is not entertainment. Keep the message alive.

Related Stories:

Is Kanye a Woman-Hating Monster?

50 Cent to Write Anti-Bullying Young Adult Novel

Lady Gaga’s Latest Album Banned in Lebanon

Photo from Super 45 Musica Independiente via flickr


jessica w.
jessica w6 years ago

king c. this is a great article from a feminist perspective that explains another side of what rhianna could have been doing:

jessica w.
jessica w6 years ago

just saw the video on youtube. i am getting sick and tired of our society finding abusing women as sexy. and promoting women to abuse other women(re the nicki scene). why weren't any of the male rappers eating dead men or sleeping with dead men? and why did kayne have to hold a dead woman's head? let's think about that.

and they were all dead in heels..what does that mean? let's think about all this. and the video i watched had more likes than dislikes.....somethings wrong here.

Matteo C.
Matteo C6 years ago

Great news!!

Hope S.
Hope S6 years ago

Well finally, a major media company that has grown up.

Free speach was never meant to protect obscenity. It wasn't even thought of when the Constitution was written. Even the poor and
downtrodden had manners and knew what earned respect.

There are too many people that confuse fame with infamy and respect with fear. Those who use constantly obscentities are broadcasting their ignorance and lack of vocsbulary.

Patti T.
P T6 years ago

While kris y. seems to rather quote sayings from others, it's HIS opinion I'm curious about. The Constitution was created at a time in history when there was NO West, Rihanna, or any of the "so-called" singers (there's not even a proper word to describe what they do anymore) to Defend their "Right" to "Free Speech". I agree that these "ARTISTS", and I DO use The Term LIGHTLY, have about as much going for them, sans Vocals, as those *cough* 'celebrities' in Hollywood. A lot of them have Great Voices...why ruin & hide their talent with the words & Videos that make them really not much different from the PORN Industry-except of course you won't find that kind of Language & Violence in most Porns Even!
SO, PLEASE Quit Insulting the Rest of America by using the Constitution to Peddle the kind of FILTH that our 'Forefathers' hadn't Considered When They Constructed "OUR CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES"
Unless of course you can explain to me what BENEFIT these Videos & Language in Songs have to do with "creating our next generation of young Americans to help in the growth of America" --- OH WAIT, there is NONE...that's why much of the country is in the State it's in!! GROW UP AMERICA & SEE WHAT YOU'VE CREATED!
FREE SPEECH MY A**!!!! --- They've changed that to "Free HATE & VIOLENCE"!!!

Victoria L.
Victoria L6 years ago

What would possess this man to even want to shoot such a video? Um. Your career's going down the drain. Buh bye.

kris y.
kris y6 years ago

While I do completely agree that this sounds like very offensive material the freedom of speech aspect of it really isn't trivial... "for freedom of speech to mean anything, it must protect those with whom we vehemently disagree"

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." - H. L. Mencken

"Those who call for censorship in the name of the oppressed ought to recognize it is never the oppressed who determine the bounds of censorship." - Aryeh Neier, Civil Libertarian

pam wilkerson
pam wilkerson6 years ago

Great news! I wouldnt allow let my children to watch anyone like this.

Jane L.
Jane L6 years ago

I really don't see how this is art and I honestly don't think the youth of this generation who listen to this sort of crap see it as "art" either. They (most of them) see it for what it is. It's pretty sad when the use of the word "art" is stretched to "protect" pieces of offensive crap like this and keep it public.

King C.
King Clark6 years ago

I don't know what's worse: This, or Rihanna's "S & M" video. Both of these are disgusting and disturbing.

Sure, the one that's just been blocked is pretty frank with misogynistic violence, but Rihanna's video features several people - many women, some men - being shown as helpless and good for nothing except sex. The BDSM imagery makes this even worse, featuring news reporters wearing gags and people strapped to walls, along with words like 'slut' and 'whore' floating in the background.

Also, making a song about how you like to be abused doesn't do well for PR, considering you had a huge controversy over being beaten by Chris Brown.