Sam Smith has sparked a row over ‘hyper-sexualised’ dancing in their new music video with critics arguing it is ‘normalising pornography’ in pop culture – but fans claim it is ’empowering’.
The ‘raunchy’ video for the singer’s new track I’m Not Here To Make Friends has led to a debate over whether it should be age restricted on platforms such as YouTube due to its supposedly explicit content.
It shows them arriving at a castle in a helicopter before dancing alongside a large number of performers wearing corsets, suspenders and nipple tassels. A fountain of water is also seen being sprayed into the singer’s mouth.
In other scenes, the dancers are filmed slowly thrusting on a bed wearing only black leather underwear and later surround Smith, who is non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them, while dancing provocatively.
Sam Smith is seen wearing a corset, suspenders and nipple tassels in their new music video for I’m Not Here To Make Friends
Critics called for age restrictions as they said children as young as five can watch the ‘sexualised’ music video on YouTube
The singer, 30, released the video for the new track, part of their new album Gloria, last week.
But appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today, journalist Alex Phillips said the music video was ‘unhealthy’ for society.
She added: ‘We live an age now where porn is becoming so normalised. It is in music videos, it is in fast fashion that is being marketed to teens and we also live in an age where we know that people are getting sexually assaulted at school.
‘You are having to have websites where people are saying “I am going through these terrible experiences”. You have got filth going on in WhatsApp groups among police officers.
‘I don’t think it is a coincidence that the reporting of things like sexual assaults and sexual attacks, relationships falling apart, the swipe left and swipe right generation.
‘It is bad, it is unhealthy, it is not good for society and this is a symptom of it.’
Meanwhile, radio presenter Shivani Dave defender the singer, claiming that past stars such as Madonna would not have received such criticism if they had released such a video.
She said: ‘Miley Cyrus has done this, Nicki Minaj has done this, – so many people have done this.
‘What I think the difference here is that Sam Smith was assigned male at birth and we are not used to seeing people who are assigned male at birth dancing around in lingerie and corsets and things like that.’
Dave added: ‘Madonna has done that. There were some people who said it was over-sexualisation and it wasn’t on the television in the morning – people weren’t debating it in the same way.’
Similarly, viewers were also mixed on their views on the music video on social media.
Some said the video needs to be kept away from children and is akin to a Playboy photo shoot.
Smith is also seen performing provocative dance moves during the music video, released last week
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today, journalist Alex Phillips said the music video was ‘unhealthy’ for society
Sam Smith has sparked a row over their new music video. Pictured: The singer performs on stage at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball 2022
One tweeted: ‘It is vulgar…Sam Smith has a great voice, but his video is a offensive. I certainly don’t want my child to see it..
‘Less is more Sam. How can this been seen as “empowering” is beyond me. A sign of this crazy times if someone thinks that’s good!’
A second said: ‘Totally agree with Alex and this needs to be banned it’s disgraceful.’
A third added: ‘It’s time for standards to be raised regarding pop videos. So many of them are no more than porn, soft or otherwise. What are these people trying to do to our children?’
But some fans were quick to jump to their defence, alleging hypocrisy over similar music videos released by female singers.
One said: ‘Whether you like Sam Smith or not there were a lot worse videos in the 80s and 90s. There’s always calls to ban these things. People only like freedom of expression when it suits them.’
Another tweeted: ‘Blimey, Lots of pearl clutching! Does anyone remember the 70s and 80s. Remember the Tubes or Divine? Move on everyone It’s been done before.’
A third said: ‘I see no difference between them and a woman doing the same thing. It is what it is.
‘They’re living their best life.’
A fourth added: ‘I’m not a fan of Sam Smith but can’t see any difference than the types of videos made by people like Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna etc. They weren’t being debated on the TV.’
The debate came after GMB presenter Richard Madeley had to apologise for misgendering Smith on the show.
Sam, 30, is non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them and Richard was talking about the scenes in Sam’s video, when he accidentally referred to them as ‘he.’
While a panel was discussing the video, Richard said they ‘had a point’ and they informed him that they too use they/them pronouns.
Richard apologised a second time and said: ‘I am so sorry. I will learn to do that.’
Gloria, Sam’s fourth studio album, was released on Friday and is the first LP they have released in three years.
It was dropped after almost a year of public preparations from Sam, who released its first single Love Me More in April 2022.
Sam revealed on Friday they were spat at in the street after coming out as non-binary.
The Grammy winner changed their gender pronouns to they/them in 2019, and said they wish they had done it sooner but also opened up about the shocking backlash.