Justin Timberlake 'Tunnel Vision' video

Singer's explicit video for 'Tunnel Vision' pulled down before being restored on Vevo's YouTube channel

In the music biz, getting “banned by YouTube” appears to be becoming a popular strategy for going viral.

Justin Timberlake is the latest artist to post a video that is just outré enough to violate YouTube’s policies against nudity and other inappropriate content.

An explicit version of his music video for “Tunnel Vision,” featuring numerous topless female models, was posted Wednesday on YouTube — and the service promptly removed it because of the nudity.

However, several hours later, YouTube made the video available with an age-restriction warning. The clip is viewable on Vevo’s YouTube channel, after users click through prompts warning them that it has been flagged as “being potentially offensive or inappropriate.” At various points in the video, Timberlake’s visage is projected onto the bare torsos of the women.

In a statement, YouTube said, “While our Guidelines generally prohibit nudity, we make exceptions when it is presented in an educational, documentary or artistic context, and take care to add appropriate warnings and age-restrictions.”

Since going online Wednesday, the explicit version of “Tunnel Vision” has garnered more than 1.1 million views. (The nudity-free version, available since mid-March, has just over 581,000 views.) The R-rated video also is available on the singer/actor’s website, justintimberlake.com, through Vevo.

Timberlake’s “Tunnel Vision” naked video play comes after YouTube in May pulled down David Bowie’s bloody and heavily religious-themed video for “The Next Day” (before the site reinstated it). Prior to that, YouTube removed Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video featuring fully nude models.

This fall, Timberlake is set to launch a world tour for his latest album, “The 20/20 Experience,” which was released in March by RCA Records.

Separately, YouTube earlier this week confirmed that it has taken an equity stake in Vevo, which is majority owned by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group.

SEE ALSO: YouTube Accused of Profiting From Videos Promoting Illegal Drugs, Other Illicit Activity

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