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The music video for “Animals” might be one of the most controversial aspects of Maroon 5’s career. During an interview, Maroon 5’s Adam Levine said fans who disliked the video didn’t understand it. Listeners in the United States and the United Kingdom had different reactions to “Animals.”

Maroon 5's Jesse Carmichael, Adam Levine, Mickey Madden, James Valentine, and Matt Flynn standing in a row
Maroon 5’s Jesse Carmichael, Adam Levine, Mickey Madden, James Valentine, and Matt Flynn | Paul Bergen/Redferns

Why the music video for Maroon 5’s ‘Animals’ was so controversial

The music video for Maroon 5’s “Animals” is closer to a horror movie than the average pop video. It stars Levine as a butcher who stalks a woman played by Behati Prinsloo, Levine’s wife. He eventually seduces her. They have sex while covered in blood. 

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, also known as RAINN, condemned the video. “Maroon 5’s video for ‘Animals’ is a dangerous depiction of a stalker’s fantasy — and no one should ever confuse the criminal act of stalking with romance,” said Katherine Hull Fliflet, RAINN’s VP of Communications. “The trivialization of these serious crimes, like stalking, should have no place in the entertainment industry.”

How Maroon 5’s Adam Levine reacted to the controversy

During an interview with The Independent, Levine dismissed the controversy surrounding “Animals” without naming RAINN in particular. “That was f****** ridiculous,” he said. “It was the last video I would have expected to receive any criticism on that front.” The Independent reported Levine seemed amused rather than upset by the controversy.

Levine said he was trying to embody a character in the video. “It was supposed to be creepy!” he said. “I play the role of the creep, it’s literally a character out of a movie. And the song is about animalistic tendencies, I’m talking about eating someone alive. Use your f****** imagination.”

Levine said fans who were upset by the video were taking the video “personally.” “It’s like watching a horror film and notifying the people who made it to tell them you think they’re disgusting,” he said. “People are sometimes too rooted in reality and they can’t differentiate. They take everything too personally.”

Maroon 5's Adam Levine with his arm around Behati Prinsloo
Maroon 5’s Adam Levine with Behati Prinsloo | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

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The way the world reacted to Maroon 5’s ‘Animals’

Regardless of the controversy surrounding Maroon 5’s “Animals,” the song became a big hit. The song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 33 weeks. “Animals” appeared on Maroon 5’s album V. V reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 123 weeks.

“Animals” was considerably less popular in the U.K. According to The Official Charts Company, the song merely reached No. 27 there and lasted on the chart for 28 weeks. Meanwhile, V peaked at No. 4 in the U.K., lasting on the chart for 56 weeks. Even if “Animals” found mainstream acceptance on the radio in the U.S. and the U.K., it spawned one of the most inflammatory music videos of the 2010s.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.