The watchdog group the Parents Television Council has condemned Rihanna's new video, "Man Down," which shows the singer depicted as a victim of an implied sexual attack who guns down her suspected rapist.
Rihanna has not commented about the criticism. Rihanna said on her Twitter page on May 30 that "Man Down," a reggae track featured on her latest album "Loud," has a "very strong underlying message 4 girls like me."
The Parents Television Council said in a statement that the clip features an "implied rape scene with a man whom she later guns down in an act of premeditated murder" and has called on Viacom to immediately stop airing the video, which premiered on the show "106 & Park" on its cable channel BET on Tuesday, May 31.
"Rihanna's personal story and status as a celebrity superstar provided a golden opportunity for the singer to send an important message to female victims of rape and domestic violence," Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the Parents Television Council, said in a statement.
"Instead of telling victims they should seek help, Rihanna released a music video that gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability," Henson said. "The message of the disturbing video could not be more off base."
"Young girls/women all over the world," Rihanna Tweeted that day. "We are a lot of things! We're strong innocent fun flirtatious vulnerable, and sometimes our innocence can cause us to be naïve! We always think it could NEVER be us, but in reality, it can happen to ANY of us! So ladies be careful and #listentoyomama! I love you and I care!"
Rihanna has herself been the victim of violence. In 2009, fellow R&B singer Chris Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault for attacking her while they were dating. He was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community service. After the confrontation, Rihanna obtained a restraining order against Brown, which was was downgraded to a lower level. The two are allowed to contact each other.
The music video for "Man Down" was filmed in Jamaica and its director, Anthony Madler, told MTV News in mid-May that the track demanded "a strong narrative and visual."
The Parents Television Council said in its statement that "a graphic portrayal of the singer getting back at an attacker by shooting him in cold blood in a crowded train station and then fleeing the scene is potentially the worst possible message that could be sent."
The group has in the past also condemned things such as GQ magazine's racy photos of "Glee" cast members Lea Michelle, Dianna Agron and Cory Monteith, in a bid to "promote and restore responsibility and decency to the entertainment industry in answer to America's demand for positive, family-oriented television programming."