By now I suppose you’ve all heard, or read, about Michelle Shocked’s anti-LGBT rant from the stage at Yoshi's in the Fillmore over the weekend.
When Shocked took the stage she said something about an "invisible man" on the stage and that she needed an avatar. She encouraged the audience to tweet her comments and song requests, and audience member Matt Penfield joined her on stage to follow Shocked’s tweets as she sang.
Her first set was nothing out of the ordinary, though at one point she stopped to read some of the tweets herself. In response to a request for a gospel song, she said, "I love me some Jesus," and in the middle of another song, she made a political statement an Occupy issue; Shocked was arrested in 2011 in an Occupy LA protest. At intermission she Tweeted: "Truth is leading to painful confrontation."
During the second set Shocked told the crowd that she was "all about reality" and then began the rant heard round the world. She said she was tired of Christians hiding behind the cross, then said, "When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back."
Many in the crowd, most of them San Franciscans, walked out. One woman shouted: "Don't say that shit in San Francisco."
Shocked replied, "Where do I go to say it?"
Then Shocked offered a prayer in Spanish: "God loves you. God loves us. God loves us all everywhere." When people in the crowd asked what she was saying, Shocked, with a huge grin, said, "You are going to leave here and tell people 'Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots.'"
With two-thirds of the audience gone by this point, a Yoshi's manager announced, "Thank you for coming ladies and gentlemen. This show is over."
"It's not over," Shocked said; she continued to sing until management cut off her microphone and shut off the stage lights.
Now, some fans say Shocked was merely being misinterpreted, and that her comments were related to hypocrisy regarding anti-LGBT folks, but Shocked has yet to respond, and,/or apologize for what she said.
Penfield, who served as Shocked's 'invisible man', and walked off the stage during her rant, said "She said hateful things about gays and she was aggressively promoting a religious agenda I disagree with."
After the performance Shocked was talking with three fans when the Bay Area Reporter asked her to clarify her comments. When one of the three fans told Shocked the B.A.R. was a “gay paper" Shocked said, "God bless us everyone" and left.
A venue in Chicago, SPACE, had a Shocked show scheduled, but cancelled the show after learning of her on stage anti-LGBT rant. Blogger John M. Becker, who posted about Shocked’s performance [HERE], created a Change.org petition [HERE] asking other venues to follow SPACE’s example and cancel Shocked’s upcoming dates. And it seems to be working; according to Shocked’s own website, on Monday she had eleven upcoming concert performances, and now there are just two.
Look, here’s how this works: entertain me. Sing the songs I want to here. Have a political viewpoint. Share it with me. But Shocked wasn’t using the power of Free Speech, she was using Hate Speech, in San Francisco of all places, and, well, I don’t know if people should pay to see a musician perform, only to be subjected to her anti-LGBT rants.
She has a right to her opinion, and, as we say in the South, God Bless her, but don’t ask me to pay to hear you spew hate when all I wanted was to hear a few songs.
Check out John M. Becker’s blog for a list of the venues that have said No to Shocked. It’s nice to see people, and businesses, rally together to stifle Hate Speech. In fact, one venue, the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland, not only cancelled Shocked’s upcoming performance, but are replacing it with a benefit concert for Basic Rights Oregon.
I’d much rather see that show.
The Bay Area Reporter
John M. Becker
The Change.org Petition