The Spice Girls were seen as a ground-breaking band as they burst onto the global music scene and immediate resonated with women around the world with the band declaring everything they did was for “Girl Power”. From their sometimes thought-provoking lyrics, including publicizing safe sex in the song “Two Become One,” to their often-revealing dresses – remember that Union Jack dress worn by Geri? – the Spice Girls were provocative, but were the quintet considered controversial?
Although the Spice Girls, possibly because of their management team, preferred to shy away from controversy, instead preferring to keep a squeaky-clean image, the group did sometimes find itself in newspaper headlines for the wrong reasons.
One such occasion came after filming Spice World, the Spice Girls’ movie. The film features several cameo appearances from iconic British celebrities, and one such celebrity was Gary Glitter who had filmed a four-minute cameo as himself. Shortly before the film’s release date, Glitter was arrested on child pornography charges. The Spice Girls and the production team decided to delete the cameo appearance from the final print, however, the girls’ performance of Glitter’s “I’m the Leader of the Gam (I Am)” made it into the film.
Another controversial act was when Geri left the band. The group was on the Spice World tour when Geri decided it was time to leave the band that had made her a household name. The official announcement came on May 31, 1998 and came from Geri’s solicitor. The controversy was that the rest of the group were due to embark on the North American leg of their tour, which they eventually completed without Geri’s presence. Geri’s solicitor, Julia Turton, released a statement reading:
“This is a message to the fans, sadly I would like to confirm I have left the Spice Girls, this is because of differences between us. I am sure that the group will continue to be successful, and I wish them all the best. I have no immediate plans and I wish to apologise to all the fans and to thank them and everyone who’s been there. Lots of love Geri. PS: I will be back.”
More recently, in January 2017, the Spice Girls found themselves in the newspapers again after reports surfaced that Victoria Beckham had instructed her legal team to prevent her ex-bandmates from performing Spice Girl classics under a new name. Geri, Emma and Mel B had planned to sing Spice Girls songs under the name GEM but 42-year-old Victoria called in her lawyers to stop this from happening, claims that Victoria has strongly denied. The news came shortly after Geri put a possible GEM tour on hold so that she could focus on her family as she was pregnant at the time and already a mother to 10-year-old daughter Bluebell. Victoria’s legal team are said to be considering legal action following the story of her blocking GEM, which first surfaced in The Sun newspaper.
GEM did look like it was going to tour because the trio had recorded a track confirmed to be called “Song For Her. This track was stolen from the recording studio and leaked into the public domain, with Emma stating she was disappointed it had been stolen but happy about the nice feedback received.