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Kanye West ‘Monster’ Video Banned From MTV

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Saturday, 05 March 2011
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Progress! MTV Won’t Air Kanye Video Glorifying Violence Against Women

Kanye West has never been one to shy away from controversy, but fans and activists alike are concerned his newest video “Monster” glorifies violence against women. That’s why activists Sharon Haywood and Melinda Tankard Reist created a petition asking MTV and Universal Music Group to pull the offensive and misogynistic video. MTV recently responded to the over 1,600 Change.org members who signed their petition, agreeing not to air “Monster.” But Haywood and Reist’s work is far from over, as Universal Music Group still hasn’t responded.

Monster” is not the usual scantily-clad, hyper-sexualized women washing expensive cars with even more expensive champagne. The video features West, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nikki Minaj surrounded by the “sexy” corpses of women in lingerie. Other women dangle from the ceiling by chains. Behind Jay-Z, a dead, naked woman lies with her mouth wide open, bluntly indicating her last act was a sexual one. Ross erotically eats a plate of raw meat from between a female corpse’s legs. And West practically rapes the dead bodies of two women in bed. The message of the video is pretty clear: women are sex objects and it can be erotic when they are killed in violent, sexual ways.

“The mainstreaming of videos like this increases desensitized and callous attitudes toward violence against women,” said Reist, one of the campaign originators. “Young people are seeing images and absorbing harmful messages which glamorise misogyny and brutalise women. Women are reduced to sex-doll like playthings. So great is the level of desensitization that the barbaric treatment of women and girls is seen as normal and to be expected. We decided to run this campaign because we wanted to challenge the status quo.”

And challenge they have. This week MTV contacted Haywood and Reist to say they will not air “Monster” in it’s current version. The decision is consistent with MTV’s strong commitment to fighting violence against women through their excellent EXIT campaign, which addresses human trafficking and sexual violence against women around the world. However, that corporate commitment has rarely led to the company refusing to air content in the U.S. Haywood and Reist are proud of their success so far, but have indicated they’ll keep fighting until Universal Music Group addresses their concerns as well.

You can support Haywood and Reist by signing their petition and sharing it with your friends who are fans of Kanye West, hip hop, and/or women. Or, tweet @kanyewest, asking him to stop glorifying violence against women in his “Monster” video.

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