The newest video from Sia, for her single "Elastic Heart," has caused a bit of a social media uproar. It's an uproar that Sia, who directed the video with Daniel Askett, had already anticipated.
The video features 12 year old Maddie Ziegler, the extraordinarily talented Dance Moms star of Sia's award winning video for "Chandelier," and 28 year old Shia LaBeouf struggling through some highly charged content in a match-sized cage. Offended viewers have pointed to the age difference, and then the actors' attire, and the explicit suggestiveness of the videos physicality. In much the same trajectory of "Chandelier" Ziegler is costumed in her now iconic nude leotard and Sia blonde wig, while LaBeouf is wearing nude boxer briefs and knuckle tape, looking scuffed and dirtied. In the same contemporary extension of lyrical ballet as "Chandelier," Zeigler and Shia dance through themes of violence, distance, and togetherness.
According to Sia, who released an apology on twitter, the actors represent two warring sides of herself. Her apology, while sincere, has not suggested a moment of regret in releasing the piece.
I anticipated some 'pedophelia!!!' Cries for this video. All I can say is Maddie and Shia are two of the only actors I felt could play
While it's impossible to argue the suggestive nature of the video, accusations of explicit sexual content fall short. LaBeouf and Ziegler give a truly incredible performance that gets to the core of love and hate, rejection and acceptance, the contact is visceral but never sexual. Pegging it as suggestive of pedophilia is a simple way to dismiss a confrontational short film.
Catch the Complex video coverage, and watch the controversial video below, and give us your take on it in the comments section below. Whether you're offended, impressed, or confused, I guarantee you won't feel nothing.