Domestic violence is no sexy matter, so it’s more than a little bizarre that Los Angeles photographer Tyler Shields put together a “bruised-up Barbie” photo shoot of blond “Glee” star Heather Morris.
The 24-year-old actress, who plays perky blond cheerleader Brittany on the television series, has a fake black eye and sports a ponytail and old-fashioned black and white polka dotted dress in the shoot, giving the pictures a 1950s feel.
“Even Barbie gets bruises,” Shields wrote in his blog, which includes snapshots of Morris’s hands tied up, the bare-shouldered actress drinking water from an iron, and the female celebrity pulling her hair while sprawled on an ironing board. Morris can also be seen beaming as she pretends to iron Shields’s crotch.
Though Shields told E! that he wasn’t encouraging domestic abuse, many have been chafed by the odd photos.
“I don’t know if Tyler is aware but I’m quite sure there are plenty of women who have been abused by these kinds of household appliances and children as well being hit with electrical cords,” Rita Smith of the Denver-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence told E!. “If he had stopped with the image of the bruise, [the pics] could conceivably be used as a way to raise awareness about the impact of violence but the other things do make it look appealing, as if she might be enjoying the process and I don’t think that’s helpful.”
Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson said people with knowledge on the issue of domestic violence would be troubled by the pics.
“Anybody with a raised consciousness about domestic violence is obviously going to find these disturbing,” Thompson told E!. “It’s always hard when you have artistic photographs, art often times does things that are deliberately provocative in the sense that serious art is supposed to make us look at things differently and sometimes deliberately tries to be disturbing.”
Shields is also the man behind last year’s creepy Lindsay Lohan photoshoot, which showed the natural redhead in a sheer bra with a gun to her face inside a blood splattered room.
“Glee” cast members have been known participate in racy magazine spreads. Last year, the program’s stars Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, and Cory Monteith dressed down for a sexually suggestive GQ pictorial, upsetting many critics who said the actors were setting a bad example for children who watch “Glee.” (PICTURES: Inside the ‘Glee’ phenomenon with Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, and Cory Monteith)
After the GQ photos went public, the Parents Television council said the shoot “borders on pedophilia” and is a “near-pornographic display.”