Lada Gaga "Do What U Want" Video

Earlier this week, New York Magazine published a cover story titled “Is Terry Richardson an Artist or a Predator?” That question has followed Richardson for years now — with some models accusing him of wildly unprofessional, exploitive, inappropriate, perhaps criminal behavior during photo shoots, and others defending him against those charges. Richardson has done lots of music videos, too, of course — you might remember, for instance, Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video, which led to a series of open letters with Sinead O’Connor regarding the exploitation of young women in the music industry. Anyway, last fall, Lady Gaga shot a video with Richardson, for her Artpop album track “Do What U Want,” which was initially slated for release in December 2013. But that clip was shelved, wrote Gaga in January of this year, due to unarticulated transgressions by unnamed members of Gaga’s team whom she claimed:

…betrayed me gravely mismanaged my time and health and left me on my own to damage control any problems that ensued as a result.

You can try to parse that statement but unless you’re part of Lady Gaga’s inner circle, you won’t succeed. ANYWAY, today Page 6 posted a story about the video in question, saying that the clip was scrapped due to the growing controversy surrounding Richardson, as well as the ever-present controversy surrounding R. Kelly, who was a guest in both the song and its video treatment. Page 6 quotes a source as saying, “Gaga had a video directed by an alleged sexual predator, starring another sexual predator. With the theme, ’I’m going to do whatever I want with your body’? It was literally an ad for rape.” And there are details of the clip, too:

According to our source, Kelly plays a doctor in the video, with Gaga acting as his patient in scenes that riff on her real-life hip injury last year.

Gaga asks Kelly, “Will I ever be able to walk again?” The singer replies, “Yes, if you let me do whatever I want with your body.” The not-so-good doctor then adds, “I’m putting you under, and when you wake up, you’re going to be pregnant.”

Gaga spent 10 months with Richardson between 2010 and 2011 while he documented her life for an eventual photo book, so presumably she knew the guy’s deal, but who knows? And she released a promo shot for the video last December (a remarkable THREE DAYS before the Village Voice published its massive recap of the sexual-assault accusations made against Kelly in the late ’90s!), in which she’s wearing a bikini, being straddled by Kelly, in a position that at least suggests he might urinate on her:

Point is, Gaga doesn’t exactly seem like a totally innocent party here, but whatever. Earlier today, TMZ tracked down a clip from the video, and nothing mentioned in the initial description seems inaccurate. Maybe not “literally” an ad for rape, but certainly a playful endorsement of rape. It’s bizarre, and I can’t imagine anyone involved is too upset that this one got squashed. Watch:

But again, who knows? They made the video in the first place. And maybe they leaked it, too. (Yeah, yeah, haha “leaked.”) As model Charlotte Free said in her defense of Richardson:

I love Terry’s raw sexuality, it’s one of the things I really admire about him. Terry likes to do sexy stuff, that’s his shit. If you don’t wanna be part of it, make it clear in the beginning. Don’t willingly blow the man and get all mad and ashamed later. I hate when girls say, ’But he asked me to.’ You should have said ’No,’ then, stupid bitch!

There’s plenty of other girls waiting in line, so he’s not forcing you to do shit. When you make a choice you have to live with it — unless someone got you fucked up against your will. That’s how I feel about it.”

I don’t get a vote, but I dunno … I think predator, probably.

Comments (28)
  1. I feel i’m impervious to anything controversial but have you ever see something that just makes you feel gross? This is that thing. This is that thing forever.

  2. BRB need to bleach my eye balls

  3. “It was LITERALLY an ad for rape.”

    You would think someone who writes for a newspaper would know what the word literally means.

    • In fairness that was part of a quote attributed to “a source” but that said I’ve heard lots of people who write for a living misuse “literally.” It’s so widely misused that dictionaries are just changing the definition to include that misuse.

      • So because many people who write for a living misuse the word that means it’s acceptable to use it in an incorrect way?

        • You gotta talk to the dictionary people about that one. I personally only use the word to convey the traditional meaning, but I’m not the arbiter of what is and isn’t acceptable.

          • Language is fluid y’all

          • nay. that daw knave shakespeare may hast set a precedent f’r the invention of new language but i will nev’r accept such nonsense words like “gossip” “swagger” and “mountaineer”.

          • You guys are killing me. I enthusiastically concede to the evolution of language, and as a person who works with and loves words, I actually delight in that evolution. That said, there are a few basically arbitrary rules that are hardwired into my brain and consequently just look wrong to my eye, among them “alright” and “literally.” I wasn’t condemning this anonymous source for employing the word in such a manner, nor was I condemning dictionaries for updating the word’s definition to include its evolving meaning. I just can’t bring myself personally to adopt that meaning.

          • wait, i need help. literally hardwired or figuratively hardwired?

          • English, particularly American English, is a constantly changing and evolving language. To my knowledge, more so than any other language before it. I regularly find words that were used a certain way, with a particular meaning in my youth (not all THAT long ago) now carry different or multiple connotations, if not completely different definitions. It drives me half nuts, but it’s something we’re clearly going to have to live with.

          • Also, I should have read further before commenting to see that other people had already said the same thing, more or less.

    • “Daisy’s face was smeared with tears, and when I came in she jumped up and began wiping at it with her handkerchief before a mirror. But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture of exultation a new well-being radiated from him and filled the little room.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

      You would think someone alleged to have written the great American novel would know what the world literally means.

      Oh wait — that ‘controversy’ is entirely manufactured by people who like to lament the dumbing-down of the English language when that isn’t actually happening. Boo.

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  5. That quote at the end is so many levels of awful defending Richardson is so many levels of awful

    • oops. You know what I mean.

    • I really can’t agree. Consensual is consensual, there is no grey area. Either he committed a crime or he didn’t. Asking someone to suck your dick might make a creep, but it doesn’t make you a criminal.

      • Not a criminal in the eyes of the law but an unethical, power-playing, manipulative creep with the influence to affect a very young woman’s career in a very competitive industry. This line, to me, says it all:

        “There’s plenty of other girls waiting in line, so he’s not forcing you to do shit.”

        The implication is basically: “If you want to work as a model, you’ll suck off Terry Richardson when he asks you to suck him off. If you refuse, there’s another girl right behind you who won’t refuse.”

        (And that’s a quote from a model who’s defending Terry Richardson!)

        • No, that’s not what she says at all. You have what she says, her own words, in quotation marks at the end of the original article. What you’ve written in quotation marks in your above comment is complete fabrication, not a direct quote. It’s your interpretation of her comment, NOT what she ACTUALLY (heh) said. Implication does not make fact nor prove guilt.

          Is Terry Richardson a creep? Yes, very likely he is. His photographs alone speak to that likelihood (but so did Helmut Newton’s, more than Terry Richardson’s imo). Is he a criminal? Has he been found guilty of a crime? No, he has not. In fact, he hasn’t even been charged with one. Nor has he been found guilty in civil court, which seems the likely eventual result of all these accusations (because it’s almost always about the money).

          Further, you overestimate his influence greatly. He’s hot, he sells (or, he was hot, he sold). If it was (or is) believed he had actually committed sexual abuse, assault, or worse, the fashion industry would drop him like last year’s trends. Terry Richardson is as much a hired gun as the models he photographs, only much more easily replaced.

          Fair notice; if it turns out that he is guilty of more than just being a creep, I will absolutely retract all of the above and wish upon him punishment to the fullest extent of the law. But I respect our laws, and the man is innocent until proven guilty. I mean, come on, how often have you, as a writer, been accused of something that was complete bullshit? I’m guessing fairly often. While recognizing the difference in the severity of the accusations, I’d still expect both of you to be allowed the freedom to defend yourselves.

          A final thought; wasn’t there other people around? A shoot, particularly at that level, is VERY rarely just a photographer and a model.

  6. How did people ever let it get to this point? Shouldn’t this have stopped at, “Hey, what if I collaborate with R. Kelly AND Terry Richardson?” At least she didn’t sample Gary Glitter and throw in a Michael Jackson hologram, I guess. Admirable restraint, there.

  7. This article really pissed me off. Did you even read the article you linked to from the Village Voice? You are doing a disservice to StereoGum and to journalism in general by explaining R. Kelly’s situation as, surrounded by “controversy.”

    R. Kelley is an alleged rapist who has been sued for rape and child pornography by dozens of people. Grow some balls. It’s true, you don’t have an opinion. In fact I couldn’t care less for your opinion, judging from this article you crapped out. What I do care is that you write the facts about what happened and what R. Kelley has been publicly accused of doing. You could’ve written about something that matters and you made this article into a gossip piece.

    • People are publicly accused of all kinds of vile shit all the time, but not found guilty in anything other than the court of public opinion. That’s the world we live in.

    • Stop it. I wasn’t “explaining R. Kelly’s situation as, surrounded by ‘controversy’” (your words). I said that the Page 6 piece claimed “the clip was scrapped due to [among other things] the ever-present controversy surrounding R. Kelly.” To quote Page 6 directly, around the time the video was supposed to premiere, Kelly “faced backlash [emphasis mine] over an in-depth Village Voice interview with veteran Chicago writer Jim DeRogatis, in which he chronicled ‘stomach-churning’ sexual assault suits against Kelly in the 1990s, saying there were ‘dozens of girls — not one, not two, dozens — with harrowing lawsuits.’”

      Gaga and/or her team weren’t distancing themselves from Kelly due to the charges made against him in those suits in the ’90s; they were distancing themselves due to the “backlash” kicked up by the Voice piece. The song was recorded with R. Kelly at some point between 2012 – 2013; the video was filmed in September 2013. The first promotional photo from the video was released by Gaga and/or her team on December 13, 2013 … and the Village Voice piece ran on December 16. The video was reportedly supposed to be released in December 2013; instead it was shelved. I’d personally feel pretty comfortable betting that this renewed focus on Kelly’s alleged crimes at least partially led to the video being shelved, but I’m not betting on (or assuming) anything; I’m merely summarizing what the Post wrote.

      Beyond that, I’d go so far as to bet/assume that Gaga and/or her team initially employed Kelly in this capacity precisely BECAUSE of the notoriety that has followed Kelly since those charges were made. The song tacitly plays with a rape double-entendre, and the video openly (and joyously) depicts a rape scenario in which Gaga is drugged, unconscious, and Kelly is essentially molesting her. It is my belief that Gaga and/or her team wanted to “shock” people with the video, and when the Voice piece ran, they realized that cultural awareness of and pubic opinion on Kelly had shifted, and the video would now result in outrage, disappointment, heartbreak, boycotts, etc. But, I believe, they didn’t so much care about the charges made against Kelly so much as they did Kelly’s place in the public eye. And again, that’s beside the point, because when I wrote the word “controversy,” I wasn’t illustrating my beliefs IN ANY WAY, but summarizing the story as reported by the Post.

      • It made sense to me in the first place, but this defense (see what I mean?) of your original intent is very well written and makes your point crystal clear (like an unmuddied lake).

        R. Kelly… “age ain’t nothing but a number”… I never really got past that point with him. That was 1994, Aaliyah was 15/16, R. Kelly was 26/27. But again, regardless of what you, I or anyone believe took place, not guilty in a court of law.

  8. It just comes off as, I don’t know, cheesy? Trying to hard? Not very “artistic” at any rate. That alone seems like a good enough reason to have squashed it.

  9. No longer supporting Lady Gaga or really anyone who works with Terry Richardson. He’s a predator and people should boycott anything and anyone who hires him. Not to mention this video is sending all the wrong messages.

  10. The attacks on Richardson seem to be part of a new Puritanism disguising itself as feminism/women’s rights.

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