Maroon 5’s ‘Animals’ Video Condemned For Trivializing Stalking

Maroon 5 racked up criticism this week for its new video, “Animals,” from everyone from columnists to sexual assault support group RAINN to (former?) fans. The band is accused of portraying stalking as a sexy, blood-covered fantasy.

As if the lyrics alone weren’t bad enough, the video takes Maroon 5’s twisted view on love to a new level. Sample lyrics: “Baby, I’m preying on you tonight / Hunt you down eat you alive / Just like animals … Maybe you think that you can hide / I can smell your scent from miles.”

The video stars frontman Adam Levine as a butcher obsessed with a girl who stops by the butcher shop. The musician/“Voice” judge was kind enough to ask his real-life wife, supermodel Behati Prinsloo, to portray his stalking victim.

The girl doesn’t seem to notice the butcher but he’s had his eye on her – secretly snapping photos of her, following her down the street, standing outside her apartment, and even breaking into her house to get into her bed. While singing about how he’s going to hunt her down the butcher hugs and punches bloody carcasses, which is pretty disturbing considering how he’s treating the girl as just another piece of meat. Viewers are treated to the butcher’s ultimate daydream as he and the girl are together at last, naked and intertwined. Blood falls on the happy couple as they make out.

RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) was not impressed by the video’s supposed creativity.

“Maroon 5’s video for ‘Animals’ is a dangerous depiction of a stalker’s fantasy,” RAINN says in a statement released by its Vice President of Communications, Katherine Hull Fliflet, according to Us Weekly. “And no one should ever confuse the criminal act of stalking with romance. The trivialization of these serious crimes, like stalking, should have no place in the entertainment industry.”

Citizen Radio cohost Jamie Kilstein linked to a Guardian article about “Animals” in a tweet saying, “Dear Adam Levine, I have spent years defending your terrible music, did you have to make this creepy video?!”

The Guardian’s Jessica Valenti writes, “I’m sure Levine and his bandmates think they’ve done something edgy here – ooh, so dark! – but there is nothing ‘alternative’ about showing women being stalked, hunted, raped or killed because it’s something that happens every damn day.”

She adds, “What’s particularly disturbing about ‘Animals’ is that the song’s message – that men are ‘animals’ with no self control – implies there is nothing we can do about issues of sexual violence. If sexual predators are ‘animals,’ or ‘crazy,’ than it absolves us of social responsibility … because you can’t control an animal, amiright? It’s just in their nature. (A fairly insulting vision of male sexuality, I must say.)”

The Daily Beast’s Lizzie Crocker had a different take on the “Animals” vid, noting that although Levine plays the stalker, Prinsloo is never portrayed as a victim.

“She is equally desirous of Levine, as animalistic and eager to consume him while sticky with sanguine fluid. … Blood, being covered in it, reveling in it, is less an act of violence and more an act of unbridled sexuality for both Levine and Prinsloo. Levine broods in the meat locker, mad with desire for Prinsloo, whose appetite for him is equally primal. A few feminists may think Levine is a violent misogynist, but as with Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball,’ success in pop culture is often about driving a conversation. And for that, Levine wins.”

That Prinsloo is portrayed as hot for her stalker is precisely what’s wrong with the video. Rather than serving as a warning to watch out for peeping Toms, the video promotes the idea that stalking can be sexy.’s Jessica Goldstein writes, “I think it’s fair to say that Levine believes the video will be sexy, as, judging by his carefully constructed public persona, he hopes every single thing he ever does will be perceived as sexy. … So the endorsement, the promotion of sex and violence as inextricably linked and best enjoyed together, is there in the video. Levine is not saying you should do any of this, or even that he would. Just that this, whatever this is, is hot. Maybe a little creepy, but creepy in a hot way. Maybe a little disturbing, but disturbing in a way that turns you on.”

Goldstein adds, “The idea that some sketchy-seeming guy who seems a little too into you will follow you home is not erotic or exciting or even a little bit enticing to actual women; it’s just scary as hell, and all too possible. … To release a song and video with this kind of violence-as-preamble-to-a-sexy-encounter right now is to be completely cut off from, or uninterested in, reality. ”

Watch the (NSFW) video and let us know what you think in the comments.