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Most Controversial & Banned Music Videos of All Time

Michael Jackson, “Black or White”

The 1991 music video premiere was a Nielsen ratings record-breaker at the time, and was directed by John Landis, and features several superstar cameos, including Tyra Banks and Macauley Culkin.

The last four minutes of the original video caused controversy, as a blank panther walks out of the studio and morphs into Michael, grabbing his crotch and zipping his pants in a sexually suggestive manner. The original also sees Michael smashing windows and destroying a car, as well as causing an inn to explode, which he later apologized for and explained as a way of interpreting animal instinct.

MTV would remove the last four minutes from broadcasts, resulting in an edited version. The uncut version has only been played on MTV2 in the early hours during their “Most Controversial Music Videos” of all time special.

Soundgarden, “Jesus Christ Pose”

The 1991 music video was banned by MTV, and was perceived as anti-Christian, resulting in some death threats, according to the band.

“That was our first single from Badmotorfinger, but it never got any airplay because of the references to Jesus. And MTV wouldn’t play the video because they didn’t like the idea of a girl on the cross. There are no guitars in the video at all. There’s not even a picture of a guitar in the video. It’s like this hard, rock-fast, punk-metal video that has no instruments in the whole thing. And it’s a six minute video,” said guitarist Kim Thayil.

Cher, “If I Could Turn Back Time”

The Marty Callner-directed music video for Cher‘s 1989 hit produced one of the entertainer’s most instantly iconic looks – but at the time, it didn’t get the love from the networks. As reported in I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, the network banned the video because of the visibility of Cher’s backside.

Regardless, the memorable classic lives on!

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