Earlier this week, Morrissey’s nephew Sam Esty Rayner posted a message to Facebook (see below) alleging that the former Smiths frontman had been stopped by a police officer outside a Nike store in Rome on Tuesday night (July 4). According to Rayner, the officer “terrorised” the star for 35 minutes, demanded to see his “papers”, “shouted very loudly” while he “held his gun throughout the confrontation”. The unnamed officer, who is pictured in Rayner’s Facebook post, was also alleged to have told Morrissey, “I know who you are”, in what the singer described as a “deliberate act of terror”.
Italian publication La Repubblica now reports that police have refuted Morrissey’s claims, stating that the star had been stopped because he and his nephew had been driving against traffic down a street and that being asked to show identification was required by law. The report also denies that the police officer involved had threatened Morrissey with his gun and suggests that the singer could be hit with defamation claims over the allegations.
Morrissey had originally alleged in a statement: “This was a deliberate act of terror by this Officer, who had no personal identification, but whose Polizia 113 motor-bike had the plate G2458. I had not broken the law or acted suspiciously. The officer unlocked his gun and held it as he screamed into my face. Some people came to my rescue. This happened outside the Nike store, and many people filmed the obviously insane officer. I believe he recognized me and wanted to frighten me. I did not back down even though I believed he was about to shoot me. I urge people to beware of this dangerously aggressive Officer. He might kill you.”
Meanwhile, one of Morrissey’s childhood friends has criticised a new biopic based on the singer’s early life, describing the film’s trailer as “disingenuous” and “rather insulting”. The first trailer for the Morrissey biopic England Is Mine was released last week, with the film arriving in cinemas on August 4.
James Maker recently said of the film: “It is not a biopic, but historical fiction”, going on to object to Morrissey being portrayed as “an autistic, retiring creature with both curly hair and a natural crimp, who had to be physically pushed into becoming a singer by a well-meaning friend”, adding: “The premise that if Morrissey could be a singer, then anybody could, is disingenuous, and rather insulting to his original talent as an artist.”