Michelle Shocked Comments On Controversy

While performing in San Francisco March 17, Michelle Shocked reportedly made anti-gay remarks that resulted in two-thirds of the audience leaving the room and the eventual collapse of her U.S. tour.  Now the singer/songwriter says her words were “misinterpreted.”

Photo: Jason Moore
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, La.

Appearing at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, Shocked voiced opposition to gay marriage, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and told the audience “God hates fags and you can tweet that I said so.” 

However, an audio clip purportedly recorded at the show and posted on SoundCloud indicates that while Shocked talked about the possible repeal of California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state, she didn’t exactly say what she was reported to have said.  But it was close.

“I was in a prayer meeting yesterday.  You got to appreciate how scared, how scared folks on that side of the equation are.  I mean, from their vantage  point, and I really shouldn’t say ‘their’ because it’s mine, too.  Uh, we are nearly at the end of time.  From our vantage point … we’re going ah … I think Chinese water torture is going to be the means.  Once Prop 8 gets instated and once preachers are held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals, I’m pretty sure that that will be the signal for Jesus to come on back.

“You said you wanted reality.  If someone would be so gracious as to please tweet out, ‘Michelle Shocked just said from stage, God hates faggots.’”

Not only did most of the audience head for the doors after Shocked’s remarks, but within 48 hours the singer/songwriter saw her U.S. tour crumble as venues canceled her upcoming appearances.

Now Shocked, who is known for supporting left-wing causes including the Occupy movement, has issued a statement about her Sunday night in San Francisco, according to CNN.  “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.”

The cable news network also said Shocked offered an apology.

“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 and 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.”

“The show, and the rant, was spontaneous.  As for those applauding my so-called stance that ‘God Hates F****ts,” 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.”

In her statement, Shocked also commented about past rumors about her own sexual identity.

“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 to continue.  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.”