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Michelle Shocked Addresses Anti-Gay Controversy

Folk singer says comments were misinterpreted

March 20, 2013 3:25 PM ET
Michelle Shocked
Michelle Shocked performs in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Douglas Mason/Getty Images

After folk singer Michelle Shocked made anti-gay statements during a concert last weekend – including telling fans that they "could go on Twitter and say, 'Michelle Shocked says God hates fags'" – she is speaking out again.

"I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else)," Shocked said in a statement, reports CNN. "I said that some of His followers believe that."

Michelle Shocked: Not the First Artist to Betray Her Fanbase

After her controversial show in San Francisco, Shocked was met with public outcry and several of her tour dates were cancelled. Now the singer maintains that she was "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."

Shocked's initial remarks were dumbfounding to longtime fans who associate her with progressive liberal ideas; she is an outspoken supporter of the Occupy movement and also admitted to having at least one female lover in a 1990 interview. In the past few years, she's reportedly become a born-again Christian.

According to reports from the concert, Shocked also spoke about the evils that would come if California's Proposition 8 – which outlawed gay marriage in the state – was overturned and cited verses from the Old Testament condemning homosexuality.

"My view of homosexuality has changed not one iota," Shocked argued in her statement. "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."

Shocked said the rant was completely spontaneous and that those who might applaud such intolerance "should be met with mercy, not hate." She went on to add that her support of the LGBT community has not wavered and she will continue to combine music and activism.

"I am damn sorry," she said. "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."

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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