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Michelle Shocked anti-gay slur backlash: Singer reacts, concerts canceled (Transcript, poll)

Get more: Music
03/20/2013 by Corinne Heller

Singer Michelle Shocked says she is "damn sorry" after she lived up to her stage name by uttering a anti-gay slur during a concert over the weekend, which spurred angry online comments and cancellations of 10 out of 11 U.S. gigs.

During Sunday's performance at Yoshi's in San Francisco, the 51-year-old went on a nearly four-minute rant, during which she asked the audience to "be so gracious as to Tweet out 'Michelle Shocked just said from stage 'God hates [epithet for gay men]." (Check out a transcript of her rant below)

Shocked, an alternative folk singer and born-again Christian from Dallas, Texas, whose real last name is Johnson, is referring to a controversial ban on gay marriage that California passed in 2008. Opponents say it is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about the matter on March 26.

Following an online backlash about her remarks, Shocked released two statements carried by websites such as Buzzfeed. Check out an excerpt of her remarks:

    "I do not and 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. I believe intolerance comes from fear, and these folks are genuinely scared. When I said 'Twitter that Michelle Shocked says 'God hates [epithet for gay men],' I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. "

    "Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue. I'd like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I'm really not that clever, and I'm definitely not that cynical. But 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."

Transcript of Michelle Shocked's remarks at the concert at Yoshi's in San Francisco on March 17, 2013.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian website posted an audio recording of Shocked's concert. She is heard saying the following:

    "I was in a prayer meeting yesterday. You gotta appreciate how scared, how scares folks on that side of the equation are. From their vantage point -- I really shouldn't say their -- 'cause it's mine too, we are nearly at the end of time and from our vantage point, we're going to be I think maybe Chinese Water torture is going to be the means the method, 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." (laughter)

    "You said you wanted reality (laughter]. If someone would be so gracious as to Tweet out 'Michelle Shocked just said from stage 'God hates [epithet for gay men].' Would you do it now?"

    "I ain't scared. I ain't scared. You know what? A tribunal. This is one woman's opinion and it's fun. It's a lot of fun. I am so committed to loving each and every soul in this room ... I could not come here and ignore you. I could not come here and pretend that I was above the conversation. I couldn't pretend that I was beneath it either. I had to join it. [One person claps] Thank you for that one hand clap."

    She then spoke without a microphone.

    "I am sick of Christians filled with hypocracy, hiding behind the symbol of a cross."

    "Show it! show your true self! Show it!" a female audience member shouted.

    "I believe that the word of God is just what it says it is -- the truth," Shocked said.

    After her rant, Shocked performed for another eight minutes before a female audience member yelled: "Don't come to San Francisco saying that [expletive."

    "I just got a Tweet. It said 'Don't come to San Francisco saying that [expletive]. Where do I go to say that [expletive]? Shocked replied. "It is weird. This is not my choice."

    "Your reality is Tweets?" a woman asked. " According to this show, we spent like 20 percent of the show on Tweets, 80 percent was a show and 40 percent was homophobia."

    A male venue worker then apologized and thanked the crowd for attending the show. The crowd began to shuffle out and people talked amongst themselves, while Shocked continued to perform.

10 out of 11 U.S. Michelle Shocked concerts cancelled

Following a skew of angry comments on Twitter and her own Facebook page, several venues around the country announced that they had canceled her upcoming concerts.

Check out the list below:

    1. McCabe's in Santa Monica, California
    2. Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, California
    3. The Hopmonk Tavern in Novato, California
    4. The Palms Playhouse in Winters, California
    5. The Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, Oregon 6. Meanders Kitchen in Seattle, Washington
    7. Cozmic in Eugene, Oregon
    8. ETown Hall in Boulder, Colorado
    9. S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston, Illinois
    10. Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Tellaride, Colorado
    11. Burg Herzberg Festival in Breitenbach am Herzberg, Germany.

An 11th U.S. venue, the Harmony Bar in Madison, Wisconsin, has not formally announced a cancellation.

"Due to comments made by Michelle Shocked at Yoshi's SF last night, we have decided to cancel our show with Michelle on Friday, 3/29," read a message posted on the Hopmonk Tavern's Facebook page.

"We are deeply saddened by today's news regarding Michelle Shocked, but our decision to cancel her show was an easy one to make," Alberta Rose Theatre reps said on the venue's Facebook page. "We are in the planning stages of turning this unfortunate situation into something useful and positive for our community."

Managers of the Burg Herzberg Festival in Germany said in response to Shocked's comments that "Personally as well as the managers of a festival with the motto "Art of Peace" we can not deal with such crap."

Meander's Kitchen has scheduled a burlesque and cabaret benefit performance for local LGBT youth in place of Shocked's canceled concert.

(Pictured above: Michelle Shocked performs for a crowd in Madison, Wisconsin on March 5, 2011.)

Tell us what you think about Michelle Shocked's comments and reaction below.

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