The latest music video from David Bowie, which shows the performer dressed as Christ alongside Gary Oldman as a debauched priest and Marion Cotillard as a prostitute, was ‘mistakenly’ removed from YouTube due to its graphic content.
The video for “The Next Day” can be interpreted as heavily critical of the Church. It shows a Cardinal dancing with a bare-breasted woman, stigmata wounds erupting from Cotillard’s hands and an array of religious imagery including a figure who is indulging in self-flagellation.
As Cotillard, who won an Oscar for her role in La Vie En Rose, sinks to the floor bleeding from her hands, Oldman turns to Bowie (who is dressed as Christ) shouting: "You see this? This is your doing - you call yourself a prophet?"
The film, written and conceived by 66-year-old Bowie, was directed by Floria Sigismondi, was taken down from the Google-owned video sharing site YouTube soon after it was uploaded yesterday morning.
The move was interpreted as critical of Bowie’s video which was initially understood to have “breached YouTube’s terms of service” - although the exact nature of the breach was not explained.
A statement from YouTube said: "With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it's brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it."
Among the music video’s most vocal critics is former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey who called the video “juvenile”. He told The Telegraph: "If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery perhaps Christians should not worry too much at such an exploitation of religious imagery.”
"I doubt that Bowie would have the courage to use Islamic imagery - I very much doubt it.”
“The Next Day” is the third single to be released from Bowie’s first record for a decade of the same name. His last video, for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” featured another Oscar-winner, Tilda Swinton, as Bowie’s wife.