Yesterday, Sia released the music video for her new song “Elastic Heart,” featuring 12 year-old Maddie Ziegler, of Dance Moms fame, and 28 year-old Shia LaBeouf. Clad in the same nude leotard and platinum leotard that she wore during Sia’s video for “Chandelier,” Maddie Ziegler battles with Shia LaBeouf in a large metal cage inside an austere warehouse. With lyrics like “Wanted to fight this war without weapons” and “You did not break me, I’m still fighting for peace,” the emotional tension between LaBeouf and Ziegler is intense.
But with a 16 year age gap between these minimally clothed dancers, some people are furious—claiming that the video is “triggering” and “pedophilia,” with one twitter user saying that it “smacks of child molestation.” Many others, however, say that the video, which has elements of playfulness, desperation, and emotional rawness, call the video “genius.’
The singer-songwriter tweeted “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 these two warring ‘sia’ self states.” She then posted this apology in response.
I apologize to those who feel triggered by #ElasticHeart My intention was to create some emotional content, not to upset anybody.
— sia (@Sia) January 8, 2015
This is not the first time that Sia has come under fire for the execution of her music videos. Her last major music video, “Chandelier,” which has received over 435 million views, was blasted with claims that the nude-leotard wearing Maddie Ziegler was fodder for pedophiles and that she was ‘too young’ to be dancing to lyrics about “party girls.”