Prevent Official Release of Kanye West’s Women-Hating Video

Kanye West in bed with two dead women
Kanye West in bed with two dead women

Petition by Sharon Haywood and Melinda Tankard Reist has leaked a video teaser for the Kanye West hit song “Monster” and what we’ve seen is beyond disturbing. In just 30 seconds, viewers take in image after image of eroticized violence against women:

  • Dead women, clad in lingerie, hang by chains around their necks
  • West makes sexual moves toward dead or drugged women propped up in a bed
  • A naked dead or drugged woman lays sprawled on a sofa
Rick Ross sits in view of a dead/drugged woman & a plate of raw meat
Rick Ross sits in view of a dead/drugged woman & a plate of raw meat

If that’s not enough, a behind-the-scenes clip of the video includes a semi-naked dead woman laying spread eagled on a table in front of Rick Ross as he eats a plate of raw meat. It is likely we can expect more brutal images in the full-length video.

The victims in this video are clearly women. Only women. And the men, Kanye West, Rick Ross, and Jay-Z are far from bothered by the female corpses. They seem to enjoy being surrounded by lifeless female bodies, apparent victims of a serial killing.

The official release date of the full-length video has not yet been announced. Let’s make it clear to Universal Music Group, the controlling company of West’s record label, Roc-A-Fella Records, and MTV that the music industry’s portrayals of women’s pain, suffering, abuse, objectification, and victimization as valid forms of entertainment are not acceptable.

Dead women hang by chains
Dead women hang by chains

We call on Universal Music Group and MTV to combat violence against women by refusing to support, promote, and/or give airtime to West’s “Monster” video.

We call on you to support our efforts in preventing the official release of this disturbing and hateful video. In conjunction with Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (Australia)Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, and Melinda Tankard Reist who brought this issue into the light, we have created a petition to block the video’s official release.

Please take a moment and sign the petition, which will be sent to Doug Morris, the CEO/Chairman of Universal Music Group  and Judy McGrath, the CEO of MTV.

And don’t forget to spread the word that our world has absolutely no room for this monstrous video.

Visit Care2 Petition Site to sign the petition.

Editor’s Note: As of June, 2011 we closed our petition in the name of success! MTV Networks confirmed with Adios Barbie that both MTV and VH1 will not air “Monster.” Read the full story at A Monster Success!

24 thoughts on “Prevent Official Release of Kanye West’s Women-Hating Video

  1. “LIKE-or-DISLIKE” Kanye successfully created a video to cause affect, + or -, I think if it creates a “BUZZ” pardon the over-used term. It was not a waste!

  2. It is sad to see what you call MUSIC, can you read musical note? can you play guitar? piano? the worse it that you need young naked bodies to call attention to what you call your music, the worse is that the videos are taken away the rights from women no self respect at all, and much less from men. Would you have your mother, your wife your children watch these gross videos? At least have some imagination and do something positive and not something dark and negative with negative wording of your said songs.

  3. I’m with MB on this one. I’m not going to argue from the ‘art’ angle, it’s a video that goes with the song ‘Monster’. It’s about how he’s a monster, and everything MB stated. I understand the images may disturb people, but it’s graphic to the point of being hyperbolic like horror movies such as Saw. I think it’s just a mindless, albeit macabre, thriller. And it doesn’t seem like the video (which includes Nicki Minaj) is portraying what is happening in a positive light. I don’t think this video in any way encourages the public to abuse or act violently towards women. It’s so outlandish and removed from reality. Just like when you play Star Wars and kill everything in your path, it’s not going to make you more likely to be a serial killer or anything (Research on this has been conducted and nothing is conclusive, i.e. the correlation between crime and video games is irrelevant. Crime has gone down among teen-aged boys, while video game sales have increased dramatically. But I digress).

    The lyrics seem to me to be almost satirical and putting on display the current atmosphere regarding what is glorified in the hip-hop culture. And the song ‘Monster’ is about how they are killers in the hip-hop arena, not real life. The video may mean many things, but I’m inclined to think along the lines of MB, rather than that they’re saying that dead women are really a turn on. Looking at the bigger context, it is wrong that so many songs today objectify women. Historically, Kanye is much different than most other rappers, and that’s why I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. Sure some of his songs throw out the casual sexual references, but the majority of his songs do not and when they are, it’s more in the context of self-loathing. Like that’s what life becomes reduced when you get caught up in the celebrity lifestyle, but ultimately, it’s empty. That is why I’ve come to like him so much as a musician. He isn’t just rapping about money, sex and drugs.

    I understand the motive in trying to ban the video, because it is disturbing. And I won’t claim it’s ‘stupid’ or anything like that. I just think it’s erroneous to label the artist himself, not the video, as misogynic. Because I don’t think he is and it’s a major assumption to claim Kanye is anti-women. He works with many women and the person he respected the most was his mother. I think this was an introspective album from Kanye and reflecting on his flaws, and if you listen to his other music such as “All Falls Down”, “Flashing Lights”, “Runaway”, etc. it’s clear that he isn’t a ‘woman-hater’.

    On a completely unrelated note, anyone feeling cynical about rap music go and listen to Lupe Fiasco. Food & Liquor to L.A.S.E.R.S. (earlier in his career he made ‘ghetto’ rap songs but later admitted his feeling of hypocrisy). He talks about his distaste for the degradation of women, and some of his songs that demonstrate this are “Daydreamin'”, “Hurt Me Soul” where he uses satire to mock those who are a part of the ‘gansta’ culture. “Paris, Tokyo”, “Kick, Push”, “Intruder Alert”, and “The Show Goes On” are good ones, too. Most of his songs are terrific, but these ones stand out in my mind as far as how dettached Lupe is from themes of glorifying sex, drugs, and money. Certainly “Words I Never Said” is a ballsy song and definitely not something most rappers would ever do.

  4. @MB Thank you for taking the time to express your views; however, we stand by our petition that images that depict violence against women should not be justified in the name of “art.” As well, it’s worth noting that the lyrics are equally as offensive:

    so mommy best advice is to get on top of this
    have you ever had sex with a pharoah
    I put the p-ssy in a sarcophagus
    now she claiming I bruise her esophagus
    head of the class and she just want a swallowship

    I invite you to take a few minutes and read the comments from those who have signed the petition (over 1800 as I write this now). Some have commented that seeing these images reminded them/triggered memories of when they had been sexually assaulted in the past. You can call this video art but in our opinion it misogynistic and does real harm to those who view it.

  5. First of all, it is obvious that both the author and the petitioner have not even begun to look into the meaning or context of the song/video. Another case of assuming rap is making no point. The message of the song is that there is a “Monster” within all of us that we can choose what to do with: either focus it in a positive direction, or let it overtake and destroy us. The song features some of rap’s biggest names (Kanye, Jay-Z, Rick Ross). But outside of die-hard Kanye fans, what this song is actually known for–and why it is Rolling Stone’s 7th best song of the year–is the last verse of the song, which is rapped by Nicki Minaj, a new, female rapper. Her verse is, simply put, unbelievable and is being hailed as one of the best verses ever to be recorded by anyone in hip-hop history, easily overshadowing the established legends on the song like Jay-Z. Because of her amazing verse, many fans who very well may have been sexist beforehand, thinking that women simply couldn’t rap, are now changing their tune. Many are predicting a whole new wave of female artists being given the opportunity to succeed in this genre. Literally, this one song has brought more direct gender equality than any song in the last decade.

    On top of this, the music video (which is still not finished, what the author viewed was a leaked, pre-edited version) is, well, beautiful for the point it is trying to make. The theme of Kanye’s album (which this song is a part of) is looking at the different things in society that we call beautiful and grand, but are built on pain and other evils. Kanye’s favorite symbol of this is ballet, which is beautiful and dignified when we view it, but is created out of body contortion and modification, bloody feet, and a painful amount of dedication and practice.

    The video depicts women (nearly all supermodels) dead to visually express this concept. The supermodels (which are an obvious symbol of beauty in society) are all deceased, but we do not know the reason for their death until the last part of the video when Nicki Minaj (the female artist I mentioned before) starts torturing a doubled version of herself sitting in a chair. This is the only part of the video which shows a woman in “distress”, and it is being done to the women by herself, not by any man. This is a visceral illustration of the point Kanye is trying to make. We can let the “Monster” in ourselves overtake us and torture us (which is what happens to Nicki and presumably the other symbols of beauty) or we can live with it positively.

    The simplicity of thinking required to take away from this video that Kanye is somehow, for some unknown reason, advocating violence against women is beyond me. It is a song/video about cognitive dissonance, about inner mental struggles, about control of impulses. To think that he is trying to advocate violence is like looking at a Picasso painting and taking away from it that the artist is advocating chopping people up. It’s stupid.

    He’s controversial because he’s making a point and making it strongly. If people would THINK for more than two seconds they would get much more out of everything, and not immediately get angry at disturbing images…they are making a point! The petition is idiotic, and I’d be surprised if it gets over 10 signatures.

    Hope that covers it.

  6. Well-stated Amy. Yes, we are dealing with public health issue – hate speech/crimes cause real psychological and physical harm. We so appreciate your support and collaboration. Look forward to your ideas.

  7. I’d like to take a much bigger worldview here than ‘Kanye or individual artists’ —and look at the lack of self-rein accountability/responsibility and causation corollaries from an industry standpoint to go beyond a ‘cut off Medusa’s head’ approach as 3 more grow back, and instead address this from a fiscal, dollar-driven, whack the wallet BIG TIME formation of standards tied to performance rights/digital rights mgmt/radio amplification and internet movement…

    Notice how YouTube, for example, will pull a video down in a heartbeat if it violates copyright/DRM? (digital rights mgmt) for perceived threat of lawsuit from the bigwig media machines? Well…let’s just say it’s time to fight fire w/fire. I have some ideas. We’ll be in touch.

    We’re an anti-censorship org, but I’d really like to think of this as a PUBLIC HEALTH issue at this point and take the Socratic “do no harm” philosophy of medicine and apply it to media and vitriolic nonsense. There ARE massive consequences with pumping out shock schlock under the guise of ‘art’…and it’s not about ‘zombies/vampires/monsters’ or cultural context here. It’s about the almighty greenback.

    We can/must/should look at the 3 major record labels, the Grammy Awards, and fighting fire with fire to get the powers that be to pay attention. We’re workin on some ideas here…stay tuned.

  8. It saddens us that you don’t feel the the violent sexualization of women is important. As you know women in Juarez are killed by the thousands. The media should condemn this behavior not glamorize it in videos geared towards young people.

  9. Jajajaj, wow, I cannot believe it !! For real ?? This disturbs you ?? Try taking a look around all of the real problems people !! For instance, Giffords shooting, Irak’s occupation, Haiti’s lack of administration and money leaking, do you need more?? Geeeshhh!! Spend your time in more productive issues, will you????

  10. I think the video is much more about criticizing constructions of black masculinity (black men as monsters/hyper violent) than it is a depiction of senseless violence against women. Note that most of dead women are white. We are so quick to see them as victims and to feel disturbed by this, however Kanye, etc are incorporating images of the macabre/vampires/zombies/etc used in many other forms of media. This could be read as a criticism or representation of the harmful controlling image of black men and other men of color preying on white women. I actually don’t think that he or the video condones this violence, especially when the song is taken in with the other songs on the album.

  11. In the late 1970s, I was one of thousands of women who boycotted Warner-Electra-Asylum records over the company’s use of the “I’m Black and Blue by the Rolling Stones and I love it” slogan to promote a Stones’ album. It was a 3-yr national campaign and it forced a company policy to stop using such imagery and messaging. Our protest over the misogyny in Kanye’s album (and the others that are featured on this petition) is similarly calling for responsible corporate policies.

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