The Biggest Scandals To Rock MTV


Since its debut on cable systems in August
1981, MTV has been reflecting, changing, and creating pop culture, tastes, and trends. But while fortune favors the bold, MTV​’s
brash, in-your-face content has also triggered some controversial moments. Here are the biggest scandals to ever hit
MTV. TRL striptease? Anybody who was anybody in the early-2000s
corporate music machine routinely stopped by MTV’s Total Request Live, but there was
something off about Mariah Carey’s spot on the show in July 2001. As host Carson Daly tried to go to commercial,
Carey materialized on set, pushing an ice cream cart while dressed in an oversized T-shirt
adorned with the word “Loverboy,” which was the title of her latest single. Daly, who looked pretty surprised by the whole
ordeal, mentioned that Carey’s appearance was, quote, “unannounced.” The songstress then said she had a present
for the TRL host: her shirt. Carey proceeded to take off her top, revealing
a tank top and hot pants to a confused Daly. The singer then bizzaarly announced: “See, every now and then somebody needs a
little therapy.” “Yes, I understand that.” “And today is that moment for me.” “What’s wrong?” When the singer announced that the “ice cream
truck” was full of goodies for the studio audience, a seemingly vaguely panicked Daly
finally got to cut to commercial. According to ABC News, Carey was subsequently
hospitalized for exhaustion. In 2018, she revealed to People magazine that
she’d actually been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bye-bye ‘Bum Bum Song’ In 1999, MTV took a chance on Canadian import
The Tom Green Show, centered on the star’s surreal and goofy style of confrontational
comedy. In the summer of 1999, the market could apparently
bear a Tom Green novelty rap song and video: “Lonely Swedish (The Bum Bum Song).” The gist of the music video isn’t exactly
highbrow: Green names things and rubs his, uh, “bum bum” on them. Of course, Green encouraged fans to vote for
the video on MTV’s other pop culture phenomenon of the moment, Total Request Live. Before long, his track sailed past TRL’s familiar
bevy of boy bands, Britney Spears, and rap rock to hit Number 1 on the countdown. Even though this was a brilliant bit of MTV
cross-promotion, the network eventually couldn’t abide. In an interview with Joe Rogan, Green revealed
the network called them up and asked a favor: “‘We want you to kind of play ball with us
here.’ And we’re like, ‘Well, what’s the deal?’ They said, ‘Well, you know, we need you to
go on the show on Friday and retire The Bum Bum Song, take it off the countdown.'” Why did that happen? The following week’s episodes of TRL had supposedly
been taped in advance because host Carson Daly would be out, so the staff allegedly
just ranked the videos the way they’d been going, and hadn’t accounted for the “spoiler
effect” of “Lonely Swedish.” Green claimed he “played ball” and retired
the song, thus preserving the alleged TRL fix. Green was truly an early-aughts patriot. Beavis and Butt-Head and fire MTV scored huge in 1993 with Mike Judge’s
Beavis & Butt-Head, a crudely animated series about two small-town metalheads who spend
their time destroying property and making fun of music videos. In the words of Butt-Head, the show “ruled”
youth culture for a while…until the troubled Beavis’ love of burning stuff almost brought
down the whole thing. In October 1993, 5-year-old Austin Messner
set his bed on fire with a lighter. The boy and his mother, Darcy Burke, escaped
the blaze, but the boy’s 2-year-old sister unfortunately died in the incident. Along with the girl’s mother, local authorities
placed the blame on Beavis & Butt-Head, specifically, Beavis’ pyromania. Local Fire Chief Harold Sigler told the Associated
Press, “When you take a child in the formative years
and you get these cartoon characters saying it’s fun to play with fire, this is going
to stick in that kid’s mind and it’s going to be with him for a long time.” MTV swiftly responded, cutting out all references
to fire from completed episodes of Beavis & Butt-Head and banning them from appearing
in future installments. It also eliminated the show’s 7 p.m. weeknight
airings, only showing the cartoon at 10:30 p.m., thereby cutting down on the possibility
that young, impressionable viewers may be watching. He’s gonna let her finish The MTV Video Music Awards is the channel’s
excuse to put on a huge party celebrating the year’s biggest musical acts. Viewers can count on at least one daring and
very rock n’ roll thing going down each year, be it Madonna attempting to make a baby with
the stage while singing “Like a Virgin” in 1984, or Michael Jackson awkwardly kissing
his wife, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1995. But one moment will outlive them all, the
one that demonstrated that the VMAs don’t have the greatest security detail. At the 2009 ceremony, Taylor Swift won best
female video for “You Belong With Me” over Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” Swift took to the stage to deliver her acceptance
speech, only to fall victim to the force of nature that is rapper Kanye West. Rather than act like a normal person and post
an all-caps Twitter rant declaring his displeasure with the results, the rapper rushed the stage
to express himself, declaring: “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma
let you finish…but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!” West’s outburst was met with audible boos,
stunned silence from Swift, and Beyoncé later gave the young starlet the chance to finish
her acceptance speech when she invited Swift onstage after winning Video of the Year. The rapper indirectly apologized a couple
of days later on The Jay Leno Show: “But I need to, after this, take some time
off and just analyze how I’m gonna, you know, make it through the rest of this life. How I’m gonna improve.” Still, the two superstars have feuded off
and on for years. Kanye calls the VMAs rigged After his behavior at the 2009 Video Music
Awards, it’s surprising that MTV allowed Kanye West anywhere near the ceremony ever again. But he’s a fixture at the show, and in 2016,
he hit the stage as a presenter, debuted his video for “Fade,” and received two nominations,
the music video for his new song “Famous” was up for best male video, as well as video
of the year. West lost in both categories, to Calvin Harris
and Rihanna’s “This Is What You Came For” and Beyoncé’s “Formation,” respectively. You’d think West would be pleased Beyoncé
won a VMA, but not this time. A couple months after the ceremony, West performed
in Sacramento, California in a show that ended prematurely after West engaged in what The
Wrap called “a manic onstage rant” that lasted for 15 minutes. Among his many thoughts: He claimed that the
VMAs were rigged, and that he knew in advance that “Formation” beat both “Famous” and Drake’s
“Hotline Bling.” The rapper revealed the powers that be had
let him know the results ahead of time so he, quote, “wouldn’t run onstage.” West also dropped another potential bombshell
aimed directly at Queen Bey, saying: “Beyoncé, I was hurt because I heard that
you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won video of the year over me and over ‘Hotline
Bling.'” That’s a big deal if it’s true. Key word: if. Going Buckwild before airtime Buckwild produced almost as many controversies
as it did episodes. Something of a rural version of Jersey Shore,
Buckwild followed the lives of some TV-ready young people in West Virginia as they did
stuff like drink in the woods, throw a pool party in a dump truck, and hunt squirrels. Before the show debuted, West Virginia Senator
Joe Manchin said the show: “…plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes
about the people of West Virginia.” The West Virginia Film Office even denied
MTV a lucrative tax credit to produce the show in the state, because it found the series,
quote, “significantly derogatory.” Nevertheless, MTV aired the series in early
2013. A few days after the season finale aired,
police arrested cast member Salwa Amin at a friend’s house in West Virginia when, according
to TMZ, authorities discovered heroin and unauthorized oxycodone. Charged with two counts of drug possession,
Amin was arrested again after a court-ordered urine test delivered positive results for
morphine and oxycodone. Unfortunately, it only gets worse from here. On April 2, 2013, Buckwild’s Shain Gandee
was found dead in his Ford Bronco, stranded in a mud pit in remote West Virginia. The car had reportedly gotten stuck with its
tailpipe submerged under mud, leading to a fatal buildup of carbon monoxide in the vehicle. Eight days after Gandee’s death, an MTV rep
told TMZ that Buckwild was done. Callous response to alleged assault In 2011, Real World: Chicago, and Road Rules
Challenge star Tonya Cooley filed a lawsuit against Bunim/Murray Productions, MTV, and
other parties on horrifying grounds, alleging that she’d suffered repeated abuse
during her time filming Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins in Thailand, including an assault
while she was unconscious. MTV’s corporate parent, Viacom, responded
to the charges by claiming that Cooley was responsible for the negative outcomes she
experienced. Viacom’s statement read: “Plaintiff failed to avoid the injuries of
which she complains. For example, while she was a contestant on
The Ruins, Plaintiff was frequently intoxicated (to an extent far greater than other contestants),
rowdy, combative, flirtatious and on multiple occasions intentionally exposed her bare breasts
and genitalia to other contestants.” Oof. The parties ultimately settled the case out
of court. Uncomfortable in its ‘Skins’ MTV’s programming constantly evolves to attempt
to remain in line with the hip young kids. in the early ’90s, The Real World depicted
disaffected Generation X-ers, and in the late ’90s, TRL aired a constant stream of boy band
videos. The network gives the masses what they wanted. In 2011, the network wanted to show “how teens
live now” with Skins, a soap about precocious high schoolers making
salacious and dangerous life choices. It seemed like MTV would have a hit on its
hands, in part because Skins was based on a popular British series of the same name. America didn’t much care for Skins. MTV launched its most costly ad campaign to
date, and it paid off initially. The debut episode landed some of the best
ratings for a new show that the network had seen. However, less than half of those 3.26 million
viewers liked what they saw enough to tune in for Episode 2. MTV faced a far larger problem in that it
couldn’t keep or attract advertisers for Skins. After the media watchdog group Parents Television
Council labeled the show, quote, “the most dangerous show for children that we have ever
seen,” a number of huge companies swore off buying ad space on the series, including Taco
Bell, Schick, L’Oreal, and General Motors. After just one season, MTV canceled Skins
for good. Self-censor if you’re nasty Millions of Americans were apparently scandalized
in February 2004, when they saw part of a woman’s breast for part of a second. While performing at the Super Bowl XXXVIII
halftime show, Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson’s clothing, revealing
the singer’s breast, at least what wasn’t covered by a nipple ornament. It became history’s most notorious “wardrobe
malfunction,” and because MTV produced that halftime show, the network apologized in a
statement, saying: “The tearing of Janet Jackson’s costume was
unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional, and was inconsistent with assurances we had
about the content of the performance.” Then, the apology turned into self-punishment. About a week after the Super Bowl, MTV identified
six popular music videos that it felt contained content of an edgy nature and consigned
them to late-night play only. An MTV spokesperson told Reuters: “We always take into account what the cultural
environment is on an ongoing basis. Given the particular sensitivity in the culture
right now, we’re erring on the side of caution for the immediate future.” Among those clips deemed too risqué: Britney
Spears’ “Toxic,” which features some dancing and skimpy costumes, and Incubus’
“Megalomaniac,” a political screed with a video that features Adolf Hitler. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Nicki Swift videos about your
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