In Maroon 5’s latest video for “Animals”—a song with the chorus “Baby, I’m preying on you tonight/ Hunt you down eat you alive”—Adam Levine plays a butcher obsessed with a beautiful woman played by Levine’s model wife Behati Prinsloo. He stares up at her window in the rain, takes photos of her, enters her room when she’s sleeping, and follows her. The whole video culminates in his fantasy of them together, naked, while blood falls on top of them. The video is meant to be titillating. Ultimately, though, for many, it’s upsetting.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an anti-sexual assault organization, is calling the band out. “Maroon 5’s video for ‘Animals’ is a dangerous depiction of a stalker’s fantasy—and no one should ever confuse the criminal act of stalking with romance,” RAINN’s VP of Communications Katherine Hull Fliflet said in a statement. “The trivialization of these serious crimes, like stalking, should have no place in the entertainment industry.” A rep for Maroon 5 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
RAINN is not alone in calling out the video. Mic called it “the most disturbing music video of the year” and ET argued it is “creepy as hell,” pointing out that the video’s release is particularly ill-timed. Indeed, the video comes at a time when violation of women’s privacy is in the news following the theft of various female celebrities’ nude photos.
“You might think, given all the international focus on violence against women and sexual assault of late, that one of the biggest musical acts in the world might not be that into writing, releasing and promoting a ‘hit’ that tries to make terrorizing women seem ‘sexy,'” Jessica Valenti wrote at The Guardian. “But instead of considering the message they’re sending to the 3.4m people who report being stalked in the US alone, the band doubled down and made a video even more disturbing than the song.”
The video isn’t the only piece of stalking that has been taken to task for its depiction of stalking and violence against women. Similar criticisms have also arisen in response to CBS’s new show Stalker from Kevin Williamson, which opens with a woman being burned alive. “You cannot write a show about stalkers that suggests stalking might be understandable—even a little sexy, maybe, as long as you’re not the one getting burned to death,” Genevieve Valentine wrote in her review of the show for The A.V. Club. “It’s an insidious, show-wide point of view that Williamson himself, as it turns out, cannot defend.” Valentine gave the show an F.
A representative for Maroon 5 did not immediately return a request for comment.