No Doubt pulled the video for "Looking Hot," the second single from the band's album Push and Shove, off YouTube so fast after Native American activist groups (and internet commenters) cried "racism," you have to wonder whether they ever intended to leave it up for longer than a day in the first place.
The video, which premiered on Friday, features the band members playing a game of Cowboys & Indians, so it is obviously pretty damn racially insensitive. Singer Gwen Stefani and bassist Tony Kanal are dressed up as Native Americans because they look better in the elaborate costumes. The white people are dressed up as #whiteppl.
The video starts to get racist within seconds, when noted non-Native American Gwen Stefani appears on screen all kitted out in a bra and spangly harness—admittedly Looking Hot for age 43. She wears a feather in her hair to show she is Native American.
(Of course, you start to feel uneasy from the very first millisecond, when the video opens on a shot of four teepees, even though there is nothing inherently racist about four teepees. It's just, you know that, whatever No Doubt has planned for these four teepees, it is almost certainly not going to be handled in a delicate, non-racist way.)
In fact, it is unclear how the band ever convinced themselves any part of this video would not be deemed "racist." Or at least "insensitive."
Is it because the wily Native Americans ultimately outwit the cowboys with the use of a flying tomahawk? Is it because the gang looks like they are having so much fun dancing around a fire? Is it because so much of the video takes place in an authentic Native American setting? (Outside.)
After the video was scrubbed from official YouTube channels Saturday, the following apology appeared on the band's website. Please note that No Doubt has Native American friends but to them they're not even Native American friends, they're just normal friends:
As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures. Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history. Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately. The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness. We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video. Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are.
- No Doubt
No word yet on whether they intend to apologize for the fact that Gwen Stefani made public appearances flanked by four mute Asian women for so long, people eventually stopped treating it like it was a weird thing to do.