By Randy Lewis
LOS ANGELES — Rock band No Doubt quickly found itself in hot water after releasing a new video last week for the song “Looking Hot,” which featured an Old West theme and singer Gwen Stefani in Native American-style clothing and taking part in native rituals.
The band pulled the video from YouTube and Vevo and offered an apology on its official website.
“As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures,” the statement reads. “Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history.”
The Facebook page for For Accurate Indigenous Representation Media, or F.A.I.R., flagged the video and sent a message to the band:
“Gwen Stefani — You may think you are ‘Looking Hot’ — but you are not. You are just looking like yet another insensitive, entitled, Hipster who is letting her white privilege slip show. And it’s oh so unfashionable.”
The video was directed by Melina Matsoukas, who previously ran into trouble for Rihanna’s “S&M” video, which spurred a lawsuit by photographer David LaChapelle charging that Matsoukas and Rihanna had appropriated his images without his consent. That case was settled out of court.
In the “Looking Hot” video, which is still accessible on some websites, Stefani wears a headband and a beaded vest and is shown communing with a wolf and dancing around a bonfire in the midst of a circle of teepees.
She also engages in a battle with black-hatted cowboys, including No Doubt drummer Adrian Young, who attack the village and capture Stefani and bassist Tony Kanal, who is also outfitted as a member of a tribe. From his jail cell, Kanal throws a tomahawk to cut a rope restraining Stefani, allowing her to escape.
“Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people,” No Doubt’s statement continued. “This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately.
“The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness,” it read. “We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video. Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are.”
The video generated considerable criticism on the group’s Facebook page.
“This depiction does romanticize the violence done to natives,” Angela Jenkums wrote. “No, the natives didn’t get away in the end with a fun quirky twist — looking stunning in traditional dress. It’s unfortunate because it seems to me that No Doubt (or the director of this vid) was inspired by native culture and beauty, and didn’t take their thought process any further than that.”
On F.A.I.R.’s Facebook page, the band’s decision generated some supportive responses.
“Happy to hear that they took the comment seriously and did something about it,” Tammy Copegog Cascagnette wrote. “Hopefully, word will spread and we won’t have to keep dealing with this.”
The group is now creating a lyric video for “Looking Hot” to replace the original.