Australian singer-songwriter Sia tweeted that she had expected some people to cry "pedophilia" on the release of her new "Elastic Heart" video. But she stands by her artistic intentions, saying 12-year-old dance phenom Maddie Ziegler and 28-year-old Shia LaBeouf, basically known for being weird, were the only two performers who could possibly represent the singer's warring inner-selves.
In the video, the two circle each other in an oversized birdcage. They hiss and pounce at each other like feral cats. They hold and touch each other tenderly. They make comical faces at one another just as the Lolita-esque moments get intolerably creepy.
Some complained the video should come with trigger warnings, so close does it approach appropriate man-girl touching. Others have defended it as art, saying Ziegler is an accomplished dancer, gets what she's doing and does it well.
The famously absent singer (she doesn't like to appear in her own videos as she believes it takes away from the music) tweeted an apology, not for the video but for how it may have made some feel:
"I apologize to those who feel triggered by #ElasticHeart My intention was to create some emotional content, not to upset anybody."
Art or not, costumes and cutting make the two appear to be naked. Ziegler is dressed in the same dirty, skin tone-matching leotard and blonde bobbed wig that she wore in Sia's "Chandelier" video (where she also played the singer). LaBeouf is dressed in dirty nude underwear. Sometimes Ziegler is on her back, legs apart. Sometimes LaBeouf sweeps over her, while she is on the ground.
"Elastic Heart" is a metaphor and no one was hurt in the making of this video. But for lower minds the ick factor is pretty high and, apparently, a little damaging to some viewers.