Madonna’s new pop video with steamy scenes of bisexuality and mild sadomasochism was given the go-ahead today to be aired on late-night British television.
The video has been banned by MTV in the United States.
“We don’t believe it’s suitable for family viewing,” said James Conway, spokesman for the Independent Broadcasting Authority, a television watchdog. “But as far as tonight’s screening is concerned it can go ahead.”
Conway said the IBA rejected British anti-pornography campaigner Mary Whitehouse’s request to ban the video from Britain’s Channel Four program “The Word” because it would be screened after 11 p.m.
But the IBA will bar stations from airing the video, which promotes Madonna’s new single “Justify My Love,” before 9 p.m.
Britain’s tabloid press had a field day, splashing stills from the video today. “Sex-rated Madonna” said the Sun’s headline. The Daily Star said: “Madonna TV porn storm.”
Sky satellite television network, outside IBA jurisdiction, broadcast excerpts. These showed the platinum blond star in a skimpy, low-cut outfit cavorting with a woman in black leather and in love scenes with real-life boyfriend Tony Ward.
But it omitted parts of the four-and-a-half minute video that, according to tabloid photographs, showed the other woman bare-breasted, wearing suspenders and a military-style peaked cap.
A Channel Four spokesman said the station was happy the IBA allowed it to show excerpts on its young people’s music magazine. It said the video was designed to spark discussion and was not a promotional effort.
But Whitehouse said she was disappointed with the IBA’s decision, although gratified that the video would not be aired before 9 p.m.
She objected to “lesbian sex and the suggestion of sadomasochism . . . the last idea we want putting into anyone’s head at the moment when there is an increase in sexual violence.”