Three months ago, Katy Perry was in hot water for her Geisha-themed performance at the American Music Awards, with critics blasting its cultural appropriation and propagation of Asian stereotypes. It was almost a given that her Egypt-themed video for Prism single "Dark Horse" would cause similar controversy, and now it has, but for much more serious matters than wearing a disco-fied Cleopatra costume while disintegrating would-be lovers.
According to a Change.org petition, one of her fictional victims (around the 1:15 mark), is wearing a pendant that forms the word "Allah," the Arabic word for God, when he is killed (it's the left-most pendant at the bottom of the photo above). The necklace is also destroyed, and now more than 44,000 people have signed, asking YouTube to pull the video on grounds of blasphemy. U.K. resident Shazad Iqbal, who launched the petition, explains:
Such goes to show, that blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames.
This is the reason for lodging the petition so that people from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world, agree that the video promotes blasphemy, using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.
We hope that the video itself depicting such images is removed. Such acts are not condoned nor tolerated, we hope YouTube will remove the video.
According to YouTube's terms of service, content considered to be a personal viewpoint, including blasphemy and hate speech, is permissible on the site. Even if Perry intended for "Dark Horse" to offend, it's unlikely to be removed, as YouTube's grounds for removal include copyright infringement and pornography, and this constitutes neither.
Perry upset some longtime fans in December when she told Marie Claire she no longer identifies as Christian.