Shortly after Sia released her video for new single “Elastic Heart” Wednesday, controversy ensued.
The clip finds Shia LaBeouf and Dance Moms alum Maddie Ziegler dancing half-dressed in a bird cage. Detractors deemed the piece inappropriate, criticizing the clip for its sexual undertones – namely the physical contact between LaBeouf, 28, and 12-year-old Ziegler – that some believe edged on pedophilia.
The Grammy nominee took to social media Wednesday to say sorry over the course of several Tweets:
“I anticipated some ‘[pedophilia]’!!!’ Cries for this video. All I can say is Maddie and Shia are two of the only actors I felt could play These two [warring] ‘Sia’ self states,” she explained.
She added: “I apologize to those who feel triggered by #ElasticHeart My intention was to create some emotional content, not to upset anybody.”
While the clip – co-directed by Daniel Askill – picked up its fair share of flak, came to its defense, citing that it’s art, not pedophilia.
Popular music site Consequence of Sound’s Michelle Geslani defended the clip, writing: “Interpretive dance is just that – interpretive. Also, as we’ve come to learn more about Sia and the kind of artist she is, I think it’s safe to say that the art which she puts forth always has a deeper meaning. Skin doesn’t always = Sex. Touching doesn’t always = Lust. Dancing doesn’t always indicate something carnal.”
As for the stars of the video, LaBeouf has yet to comment on the controversy (he just Tweeted the video the day of its release). Ziegler talked to Entertainment Weekly about working with the older Fury star.
“I felt like I knew him when I met him. Before we started filming ‘Elastic Heart,’ he took my mom and I to eat, just to start to know each other and stuff. You have to get used to your dance partner. Even though we’re battling and fighting against each other, we still have to know each other, you know? You can’t just walk in and be like, ‘Hey, let’s start dancing with each other!'” Ziegler told EW.
• With reporting by MOLLY SIMS