YouTube claims removal of controversial David Bowie music video was a mistake

9 May 2013

Still from 'David Bowie - The Next Day (Explicit)' by DavidBowieVEVO on YouTube

Video-streaming site YouTube is the place to go to watch music videos these days, but the recent religious-themed promo for ‘The Next Day’ by David Bowie was pulled from the site only to be reinstated shortly afterward.

‘The Next Day’ is the third single to arise from Bowie’s return to the music scene and is also the title track from his new album. The video, posted on his Vevo channel, has been written and conceived by the artist himself and directed by photographer and filmmaker Floria Sigismundi.

Starring award-winning actors Marion Cotillard and Gary Oldman, the video depicts a seedy bar filled with religious characters. Bowie himself stars as a performer in the bar framed as a Christ-like figure, while Oldman’s violent, rockabilly-hairstyled priest and Cotillard’s stigmata-afflicted prostitute add to the controversy.

However, while YouTube removed the video shortly after it first appeared, the site has since corrected what it claims was a mistake on its part. “With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call,” a spokesperson told Billboard. “When it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act to quickly reinstate it.”

And so, ‘The Next Day’ is still available on YouTube, albeit with an ‘explicit’ warning.


Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.