BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhuanet) -- YouTube has restricted a video promoting British artist M.I.A giving it an adults only rating.
The video hosting site took the decision due to the graphic nature of the 9 minute film. The video, directed by filmmaker Romain Gavras, depicts red-haired people being rounded up and executed, a child being shot through the head and a man being blown apart in an explosion.
Saul Austerlitz, author of "Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes" pointed out that the video's director is the son of Costa Gavras, a noted filmmaker whose work has also blended politics and entertainment.
M.I.A.'s video also took inspiration from the 1971 film "Punishment Park," written and directed by Peter Watkins, Austerlitz said.
"Punishment Park" is a "movie about a totalitarian state where young people are rounded up, brought out to a deserted area and essentially told if they could outrun the police, they could live, but that the police would basically be hunting them," Austerlitz said.
Whether an attempt to shock or make a political point, M.I.A has confused fans and Twitter was alive with comments. One user who goes by the name @ziggy0stardust appealed to the artist for her explanation saying, "@ M.I.A. can u tell us what u were tryin to say wiv the born free vid please [sic]". Others were evidently shocked. Another Twitter user wrote, "I just watched M.I.A.'s new music video for "Born Free" and now I feel like throwing up. What an awful, awful video".
The video, which promotes M.I.A's track Born Free, was initially available to everyone accessing the site but has now been given an 18-plus age restriction. This means only registered users may play the video. The restriction prompted the Mercury Music Prize-nominated star to post a series of ranting messages on Twitter. She initially claimed that her U.S. record company had pulled the video from YouTube. But shortly afterwards she backtracked and said the firm was not to blame.
The video can still be viewed at her YouTube channel, as well as on her own website. A spokesman for YouTube said, "With 24 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube, we are unable to comment on specific videos. Our policy is to age-restrict content that has been flagged by the community and identified by our policy enforcement team as content that, while not violating our community guidelines, is not suitable for users under age 18."