Artists are supposed to push the boundaries. But sometimes this lands them in trouble – especially overseas. What is acceptable in one country may be flat out obscene in another. Here are the top international “uh-oh’s” that have made headlines and shocked nations.
Madonna has recently been on the radar of the French government for using the image of a swastika superimposed on the forehead of French Front National (FN) party leader Marine Le Pen. The party is attempting to sue Madonna for not editing her video after she was sufficiently warned to do so. One has to wonder whether this is a political statement or a cry for attention! We’re thinking the latter.
When travelling abroad, you should keep in mind the host country’s rules of etiquette. The Beatles sure learned this when they tried to politely decline an invitation for breakfast from Imelda Marcos, the first lady of the Philippines. Imelda, the “steel butterfly” as they call her, alerted the media of her perceived snub shortly after being refused. This sparked fury among the entire Filipino people. Just imagine the guys trying to run to the airport after pissing off an entire nation!
Icelandic songstress Björk sang her politically charged song Declare Independence in Shanghai back in 2008, chanting “Tibet, Tibet!” near the end of the song. The Chinese government and many of her Chinese fans were furious. Tibetan independence is a very touchy subject in China. I don’t see Björk performing in China any time soon!
Katy Perry’s lewd performances seem to not fly in India as they do back in her home country. When performing at the opening ceremonies of the Indian Premier League, she invited Australian cricket player Doug Bollinger up on stage. An Indian lawyer happened to be in the audience and later filed a lawsuit against both Katy and Doug. So far, neither has been charged.
Earlier in the spring, Lady Gaga was set to perform in Indonesia until the police ordered the singer to cancel based on safety threats. The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) threatened violence if the concert went ahead. The singer also faced some trouble in South Korea when Christian groups rallied to make the concert 18+. Her pro-gay stance isn’t popular everywhere.
A bad joke gone wrong ended up getting Miley Cyrus banned from China! How does one do this? Well, a picture surfaced of Miley slanting her eyes back, appearing to be racist to Asians. The young star also had to deal with her TV show “Hannah Montana” being banned from broadcasting and all merchandise banned from sales. Surely, Disney must have not been happy.
Sometimes I have to roll my eyes at the lame attempts for organizations and artists to stir up controversy. When the Superbowl asked M.I.A. to perform at half time, they knew something risqué was going to happen. In front of over 100 million viewers, M.I.A. thought it was a good idea to flip the bird to the camera. No wonder she decided to team up with Madonna!
The UK took a firm stance last year when Chris Brown was scheduled to perform at a Michael Jackson tribute concert in Cardiff. Due to his criminal record (re: Riri and the whole beating her up thing), the UK decided it wasn’t appropriate to allow him entrance into the country. His manager claims this was just a dirty rumour but I can’t help believe this is true!