JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE is taking heat over a violent and graphic new video that features Elvis’ granddaughter, RILEY KEOUGH, as a sexually charged, coldblooded killer.
“There’s already outrage all over the Internet,” said an insider.
The graphic seven-minute video for the singer’s new single “TKO” depicts 24-year-old Riley as Justin’s girlfriend. In it, shots of them cuddling, having an animated argument and enjoying a steamy sex romp in a kitchen are intercut with shots of her dragging him behind a pickup truck on a dirt road. The action in the kitchen ends when she wallops him in the head with a cast-iron skillet as he’s cinching his belt, and the video climaxes as she jumps out of the pickup truck just before it heads over a cliff – taking Justin with it.
Making matters worse, the video serves as a heartless reminder of the brutal 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr., in Jasper, Texas. Byrd, a 49-year-old black man, was dragged behind a pickup truck for miles by three white men and was killed when his body struck a culvert.
“TKO,” which comes from Justin’s fourth album, “The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2,” was released Oct. 29. It garnered more than 4 million views within 48 hours of its release on YouTube. But the video has also ignited a controversy over claims that it glorifies domestic abuse.
On the Internet website Bustle, critic Maitri Mehta blasted Timberlake, saying that the “depiction of domestic abuse in videos like ‘TKO’…(make) them a very dangerous art form.”
And Melinda Newman, from the music blog HitFix, added: “Can you imagine the uproar if it were a man dragging his girlfriend behind the truck or if he slammed her with the pan? This is a misguided look at domestic violence.”
But Riley’s mother Lisa Marie Presley is said to be OK with the video because her daughter is an adult who can make her own career choices and has already appeared in a variety of R-rated films, including “Magic Mike,” a film about male strippers.
Meanwhile, the insider said that Justin’s wife, actress Jessica Biel “is not happy with the violent theme and explicit sexuality of the video. So Justin’s going to have to do some pretty smooth talking to dance his way out of this mess!”