Controversial M.I.A. Video Banned From YouTube

The graphic video for M.I.A.’s most recent single, “Born Free,” prompted its controversial ban by YouTube earlier today due to excessive violence. The unexpected decision to debar the video from what is generally considered a relatively open space for video and image sharing has brought on the circulation of a surge of comments and varying reactions across social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as a slew of news pages.
Remarkably shot by French Director Romain Gavras, also known for creating the music videos for Justice’s “Stress” and Simian Mobile Disco’s “I Believe,” the nine minute short film creates a visual landscape that belies the now ironically titled track “Born Free” when several armed U.S. military soldiers raid an apartment building, arrest a young redheaded boy, shove him into a military bus with dozens of other similar-looking kids and taken to the outskirts of an unnamed town. Told to run through the desert, the boys hesitate, prompting one reactive soldier to make an example of the youngest kid in the group by putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger. Gavras leaves nil to the imagination. Virtually nothing is concealed as the bullet enters one side of the boy’s head and exits through the other.

What follows is best told by the images themselves, rather than by me.
Needless to say that viewer discretion is advised.


  1. Martin
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Unlike many violent films this was not trying to exploit blood but trying to point to the idea that our current militaristic world is false and unreal.

  2. Rob
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Wow, VERY graphic. I think this should be seen and heard by everyone. Makes me think of a time in the not so distant future where the place could be Arizona and ginges would be anyone who’s brown, legal or not. Kudos to the director!

  3. Jimbo
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    How utterly and completely ersatz. What’s this hack filming next: whore’s eating dog dung while being impaled? Whoops: best not given this loser any creative ideas.

  4. Bubba C
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Given the nudity, I can see where Youtube could have some problems with this video. As for the violence, I have seen worse (& the blood & gore effects weren’t all that great).

    All in all, the whole video looks like Eric Cartman’s wet dream.

  5. Agustin
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting… I didn’t think it was that violent. I thought it was an interesting critique to a problem that has existed for almost as long as modern society: Group Profiling. Happened during WWII with the Jews, it’s happening right now, in the US with illegal immigrants and, in some cases, with Muslims. I guess people don’t like to be reminded of a harsh reality, and prefer to keep turning a blind eye to this kind of problems.

  6. Jennifer
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Ersatz? What are you, an idiot? Are you completely ignorant of America’s occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq? Look, if you want to spend your life watching Fox News go right ahead, but don’t act like this film doesn’t have a legitimate statement to make.

  7. John
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    gratuitous, pointless, and stupid, and yes I know about U.S. military operations and do not support most of them

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