Gew Stefani in a still taken from "Looking Hot". Credit: YouTube
In the video, Stefani -- who is of European descent -- dresses up as a Native American princess, complete with feather headdresses, beaded jewellery, and long braids (which, incidentally, she keeps her usual platinum blond). Bassist Tony Kanal -- who is of Eastern Indian heritage -- plays a tribal chief. Drummer Adrian Young and guitarist Tom Dumont portray traditional cowboys, who capture Stefani and tie her up.
One would assume that the band didn't intend any offence; however, November is Native American Heritage Month in the US. And, this certainly isn't the first time this sort of play-acting has come under scrutiny (one only needs to look to the sports world for a boatload of examples).
Gwen Stefani. Credit: YouTube
At any rate, No Doubt has pulled the video, and put an apology on their official website.
"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 trivialise Native American people, their culture or their history," it reads. "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.
Tony Kanal. Credit: YouTube
"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 apologise to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video. Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are."
Fans on Facebook had mixed response to the video, with some thinking it was no big deal--"Concentrate on real issues instead of attacking a band that has never shown any racism or hate," said one--and others using the opportunity to educate about Native American concerns by sharing links and information.
Adrian Young (L) and Gwen Stefani (R). Credit: YouTube
Still others were disturbed by another aspect of the video -- Stefani being bound and tied by her band mates, which they construed as a message of violence and dominance over women; particularly disturbing when combined with the racial aspect. "[They] tried to make bondage of a Native woman sexy," lamented one fan.No Doubt released their sixth album, Push And Shove, in September. The set marks the first studio album from the band in seven years.