The Ottawa Citizen
December 9th 1997
The latest single by the popular British techno band, Prodigy, and its video are inciting controversy on the radio and on television. A women’s group, the U.S. National Organization for Women, has said that the song, entitled Smack My Bitch Up, encourages domestic violence.
“This teaches violence against women is a form of entertainment,” says NOW spokesperson Janice Rocco.
Prodigy producer, Liam Howlett, argues that the title phrase is “doing anything intensely, like being on stage – going for extreme energy.” Other possible explanations are reference to heroin use, attempts to generate shock value or just what it sounds like.
The lyrics allow for this broad interpretation because there are only two lines in the song: “Change my pitch up / Smack my bitch up.”
The song has been blacklisted by virtually all Canadian radio stations with the exception of Montreal’s CHOM-FM, which is also the home of shock-jock Howard Stern.
The video, which depicts drug and alcohol consumption, nudity and violence among other things, has also been banned by most video stations. The video will air on Musique Plus in a special midnight broadcast Jan. 9 with other controversial videos. MTV has also decided to air the video but only between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and with a disclaimer.
MTV spokeswoman, Cheryl Jones, says, “We decided to air the video because it’s groundbreaking and we want our mature viewers to see it.”
Maverick Records, a division of Time Warner, has defended the release of the album under their label. Spokesperson Bob Merlis says, “The notion that this song lyric would create an atmosphere for anyone to commit an act of violence is far-fetched.”
Time Warner also came under fire in 1992 when it released rapper Ice-T’s Cop Killer, despite protests from police groups.