Sam Smith’s latest music video has received backlash for their sex-and-body positive stance.
In the visual for their Calvin Harris-produced disco anthem I’m Not Here to Make Friends, the star proudly and confidently dons nipple-tassles and dances with an army of scantily clad dancers.
One scene shows Sam standing in the centre of the room while streams of water collide with their face.
Critics branded the video “pornography”, with one Christian commentator condemning YouTube for not including – a whole bunch of ridiculousness incoming – “age restrictions” on their “degrading sexualised new music video”.
Sam’s supporters came out in droves to defend them and highlight the double standards within the industry; how cis-het artists who demonstrate their sexuality within their art aren’t subject to the same criticism.
Guardian columnist Owen Jones tweeted: “Sex has always been a running theme in modern pop music, and music videos often flaunt it.
“But Sam Smith has made the criminal offence of being a) queer and b) not skinny, and in an increasingly anti-LGBTQ culture, that can’t be tolerated.”
Drag Race UK star Cheddar Gorgeous wrote: “Parents worried about children seeing the @samsmith video (which has no full frontal nudity or naughty words) should ask why they allow unsupervised access to the internet.
“Three taps away from ACTUAL hard core porn and you’re [sic] worried about innuendo and some sassy costume?”
Journalist and activist Ash Sarkar said the backlash is “amplified by the fact they’re [sic] queer and plus-sized, but all of these music videos generated much in the way of pearl-clutching and outrage,” adding: “Madonna was denounced by the Vatican!”
In a recent tweet, accompanied by a music video still, Sam seemingly responded to the backlash as they simply wrote, “Never too much.”
During their recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Sam took the criticism in their stride, saying it resulted in their favourite ever headline: “Sam Smith horrifies OAP’s.”
The star added of the video: “Nothing seedy went on guys, it wasn’t weird.”
Sam’s fourth studio album, Gloria, is out now.
The album includes I’m Not Here to Make Friends, as well as Love Me More, Gimme and the Kim Petras-assisted Unholy, which became both artist’s first chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100.
They made history in the process as the first openly trans and non-binary musicians to do so.
Watch the music video for I’m Not Here to Make Friends here or below.