In her latest single, Katy Perry warns that she is “coming at you like a dark horse.” But it's Perry who has thousands of online critics coming at her, claiming the video for the song is offensive to Muslims.
Petitioners on the website Change.org are demanding YouTube remove the video for “Dark Horse,” which recreates ancient Egypt in the neon colors and campy imagery that Perry is known for. They point to a scene 1:15 into the video, posted last Thursday, in which a man wearing a pendant with the Arabic word for “Allah” is burned by lightening.
“Such goes to show, that blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames,” wrote Shazad Iqbal, who started the petition.
The petition has more than 50,000 signatures.
“The fact that Islam didnt [sic] even exist in ancient Egypt is what really confuses me as to why they felt the need to have anything to do with Islam in this video,” wrote a commenter from the United Kingdom, where many of the petitioners are from. “Obviously it is symbolic of the anti-Islamic message being portrayed.”
Another pointed to a 2010 tweet by Katy Perry.
Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.— Katy Perry (@katyperry) June 8, 2010
This is not the first time Perry’s attempts at culture appropriation have gone awry. Her Japanese geisha-channeling performance of "Unconditionally" at the American Music Awards in November prompted suggestions of racism.
She later told GQ, “All I was trying to do is just give a very beautiful performance about a place that I have so much love for and find so much beauty in, and that was exactly where I was coming from, with no other thought besides it.”