Backlash after Madonna reveals her team have been working “for free”
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  • Post published:24/11/2021
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She has since deleted the post

Madonna. CREDIT: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Madonna has been criticised for sharing a violent image and revealing in its caption that members of her team have been working “for free”.

  • READ MORE: The ages of Madonna – the evolution of an icon

The pop legend posted a behind-the-scenes snap showing photographer Steven Klein holding a knife to her throat. It was taken during her recent shoot for V Magazine – itself controversial for alluding to Marilyn Monroe’s death.

“Proud of my collaboration with with @stevenkleinstudio For @vmagazine and knowing that against all odds and with very little support from non artistic people who kept pushing back and the fact that we did it with almost zero budget we were still able to make ART ! Art is not dead if you have the strength to fight for what you believe in !!” part of the caption in the since-deleted Instagram photo read.


“Thanks to all who did support us and slept on couches and worked long hours and for free all to support madame X who is not only here to disturb the peace but to keep Art alive I send you all a BIG kiss.”

The since-deleted image of Madonna posing with a knife to her throat
The since-deleted image. CREDIT: Instagram/Madonna [via The Independent]

Social media users were quick to call out Madonna, with one writing: “So fucking tired of violence against women and the ‘art’ that portrays it. bye bye” [via The Independent]. Others called the image “horrible” and a “no go”.

Elsewhere, someone wrote: “Paying the artists is also relevant”, while another said: “The definition of exploitation = People working for you for free in the name of ‘art.’”

The Independent said that it had approached Madonna for comment.

The October shoot in question proved controversial. In it, Madonna is seen posing in similar positions to Monroe’s final shoot, Bert Stern’s The Last Sitting (1962), which was completed six weeks before the actress’ death.


In the V Magazine photos, Madonna wears blonde ringlets in the style on Monroe and lies on a hotel bed next to prescription pills.

Monroe died at the age of 36 from a prescription pill overdose. She was found dead in her bedroom the following morning on August 4, 1962.

People criticised Madonna and the magazine for running a shoot that touches on Monroe’s fate. One person wrote on Twitter: “For some morbid and eerie reason, Madonna decides to re-create Marilyn Monroe’s death bed. The black and white photo is actually Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom where she died.”

In other news, the singer said recently that there’s “no debate or discussion” over COVID-19 vaccines thanks to the fear permeated by “cancel culture”.

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