Singer apologises to LGBT community for any offence caused
US singer Michelle Shocked has issued a statement after launching into what appeared to be a homophobic onstage rant on Sunday (March 20), which enraged fans and led to venues pulling nearly all the dates on her forthcoming US tour.
“I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else). I said that some of His followers believe that,” she said in the statement (via CNN).
Shocked, who gathered support from left-wingers with her early albums such as ‘The Texas Campfire Tapes’ and ‘Short Sharp Shocked’ is now a born-again Christian. During Sunday’s gig at Yoshi’s venue, she spoke to the crowd about Proposition 8 – California’s legal definition of same-sex marriage: “When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilisation, and Jesus will come back.” As many fans reportedly walked out, she continued: “You are going to leave here and tell people, ‘Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots.'”
However, Shocked has now said that she was actually “predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. The show was all music, and the audience tweets said they enjoyed it. The commentary came about 10 minutes later, in the encore”.
Apologising to those she offended, she added: “I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. But don’t believe everything you read on Facebook or Twitter. My view of homosexuality has changed not one iota. I judge not. And my statement equating repeal of Prop 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: it was a description of how some folks – not me – feel about gay marriage.”
She continued: “The show, and the rant, was spontaneous. As for those applauding my so-called stance that ‘God Hates Faggots,’ I say they should be met with mercy, not hate. And I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.”
Shocked, 51, is originally from Texas and has been a prominent figure on the alternative music and radical politics scene since the late ’80s and ’90s. In a previous interview with The Dallas Voice she told the interviewer she would be “honoured” to be thought of as an honorary lesbian. Addressing claims she used Sunday night’s comments as a publicity stunt, she said: “Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband. My sexuality is not at issue. What is being questioned is my support for the LGBT community, and that has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue,” she said. “I am damn sorry. If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them. I say this not because I want to look better. I have no wish to hide my faults, and – clearly – I couldn’t if I tried.”
Three of Shocked’s albums went top 50 in the UK Official Album Charts – 1988’s ‘Short Sharp Shocked’, 1989’s ‘Captain Swing’ and 1992’s ‘Arkansas Traveler’.