Redfoo of party rockers LMFAO has lifted himself out of irrelevance for one more morning news cycle – but for all the wrong reasons. The kinda-sorta parody rapper/musical barker has been forced to address the outrage stemming from the video for “Literally I Can’t (ft. Red Foo, Lil John, Enertia McFly).”
Released in late October under the moniker Play-N-Skillz through Redfoo’s Party Rock label, the clip is set in (where else?) a fraternity house, where a party has (of course) already started. A group of sexy but skeptical cheerleaders approach, and over the next four minutes Redfoo and his team of charmers tempt the women.
In Redfoo and company's fantasy world, they can be easily turned with a shot of something or other. While making their play, the rappers cuss out a chorus sure to warm even the chilliest of women: "Shut the ... up!”
Predictably, one by one the women succumb to Red Foo’s boozy proposal. Who wouldn’t shoot tequila with the son of Motown don Berry Gordy Jr., especially when he's telling you to "shut the ... up"? (You can watch the expletive-filled NSFW video on YouTube, but be forewarned that your brain will be dumber for it.)
The Twitter response to the video’s release has been understandably indignant. Critics say it promotes rape culture, encourages alcohol-induced conquests, ridicules the one woman in the house who declines to get drunk and twerk.
Redfoo, who is currently a judge on the Australian version of “The X Factor,” took to Australian radio this week to defend the video, and to point fingers. He blamed female bloggers for igniting the controversy, saying, “The women have gone crazy on me.”
One critic has posted a petition that calls for Redfoo to be removed from “The X Factor.”
“In the US, the Department of Justice estimate that 1 in 5 female students will be the victim of a sexual assault. ''Literally I Can't'' makes fun and perpetuates this,” reads the petition. It concludes, “Red Foo must literally not be rehired.”
During the radio interview, Redfoo expressed bafflement that anyone could take the track as anything but a joyous, harmless dance song – and denies that he bears any responsibility for perpetuating stereotypes or encouraging reckless behavior.
“I happened to be the biggest target, and getting the darts thrown at me and all this stuff,” he said. “I was like, whoa, we were just trying to make a fun song. A party song. Having fun.” It doesn’t seem to occur to him that the “Shut the … up” chorus isn’t something one often hears screamed at your better party.
Plus, he added: “A woman wrote the treatment!”
As the criticism continued, the label added a disclaimer at the beginning, one that frames the video as a work of art and therefore somehow above reproach: “The following is a satirical video based on Sororities/Fraternities and the cliche "Literally I Can't." This content is in no way to be interpreted as misogynistic or negative towards any groups of people. It is an art piece and it shall be taken as such.”
Redfoo expanded his defense during the radio interview. “This isn’t the first time that someone has had an issue with an artist doing something, or a song -- even my song and lyrics. And what I realize at the end of the day is that I love everybody and I have fans that are from 3 to 93.”
He added of these fans: “They want to be like Redfoo. They love Redfoo. And I love them. And I love the families, and I love everybody. And I said, no matter how it spiraled out of control, somewhere there is going to be some families, and some kids, going, ‘Is Redfoo involved with rape culture? Is he these labels that they said?’
“I have to address them. The people that are offended,” he said.
On Thursday evening, Redfoo published an apology on Facebook. It read, in part: "I get excited to create things that will unite all of us through laughter, dance & celebration. If during that process I offend anyone, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. In the future I will be more mindful of the way I present my art."
He didn’t say whether he was also addressing the prudish cheerleader who, at the end of the clip, is banished from the party.
Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit