But on the same day that the clip debuted on MTV.com, Leto was back at work, decrying what he called the censorship of the video, which contains copious amounts of S&M imagery, heavily choreographed slo-mo fisticuffs, and an seemingly endless string of controversial images intended to shock and confuse.
In a blog entry on JaredLeto.com posted on Monday and titled "BANNED FROM TELEVISION," Leto, who directed the clip under his pseudonym, Bartholomew Cubbins, posted a letter (one of several he claimed he received) from an unnamed executive at an unnamed TV network who explained why the video couldn't be aired in its present state.
"Overall the bondage theme will warrant a POST 10 p.m. restriction as the film is in its current form," read the letter. "There is one shot that will have to be removed completely for a POST 10 p.m. restriction. 09:17 — WOMAN RUNS FINGER OVER OTHER WOMAN'S G-STRING-CLAD BOTTOM AND TOUCHES HER ANUS — This shot makes the video completely restricted. There are other bondage shots towards the end of the film that [C]ompliance were unclear about, they would have to view frame by frame on tape to gauge whether they would need to be cut too for POST 10PM. The violence in the film is not graphic and would warrant a POST 7 p.m. restriction. But the overall sexual content does push the restriction up."
The letter then goes on to log, scene-by-scene the potentially objectionable images, from one in which Leto's character jumps out of a skyscraper window (not a problem), to another in which a priest, rabbi, and imam burn holy books on a pyre in an alley, and a brief image of hot wax dripping over a woman's body.
The breakdown explicitly states more than 40 scenes or images that are restricted to after 10 p.m. and others that are more suitable for showing after 9 p.m. or 7 p.m.
"We always knew there would be some images that would have a tough time getting through," Leto told EW.com on Monday about the controversy. "But we didn't expect this kind of pushback that we're getting now."
Leto has said he's working on a "creative" solution to edit the original 20-plus-minute clip down so he can at least get it shown before the 10 p.m. curfew. He also told EW.com that the plan all along was to have several versions of the video available to fans, including an uncensored full cut. "I had always planned on having an explicit version and then a version that was not so explicit," Leto said. "The version that we were trying to get on broadcast is not the explicit version, and that's still having a really difficult time."
Leto is frankly a bit confused about why the networks that reportedly rejected the video are so upset about the sexual images in it. "I'm not interested in provocation for provocation's sake," he explained. "I just think it's interesting that when you turn on the news or whatever else catches your interest, how much violence and negativity is available out there. As soon as it comes time for sexuality, it's a big shock that people are sexual beings. It's an interesting double standard to me."