UPDATED: Michelle Shocked’s Entire U.S. Tour Evaporates Less Than 48 Hours After Anti-Gay Rant

michelle_shockedUPDATE: shows at both Harmony Bar and Grill in Madison, WI and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, CO have now been cancelled. That means Michelle Shocked’s entire U.S. tour has evaporated within two days of her bigoted anti-gay rant. The list of venues and contact information below has been updated to reflect this latest development.

On Sunday, folk singer and onetime Lilith Fair regular Michelle Shocked stunned a San Francisco audience with a vicious anti-gay tirade.

From the Bay Area Reporter:

…things started to fall apart for the singer during her second set, which she said was “all about reality.” She immediately began a rant that left the audience stunned. She said she was tired of Christians hiding behind the cross.

“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,” she said.

Loud gasps were heard from the audience. Many fans walked out.

“I believe the Bible is the word of God,” Shocked continued. More audience gasps were heard. More fans exited and some shouted pro-gay sentiments including “Gays deserve to marry,” “That is a rotten and horrible thing to say,” “Jesus loves people,” and “Don’t bash people for who they are…”

Shocked then reportedly said “You can go on Twitter and say, ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.”

That comment produced more gasps and more departures. Two-thirds of the audience had walked out by this point. Some left the club; others retreated to the club’s bar.

It was then that the show ended.

A Yoshi’s manager announced, “Thank you for coming ladies and gentlemen. This show is over.”

“It’s not over,” Shocked protested and she continued to sing. Management cut off her microphone and shut off the stage lights. Shocked continued to sing for her few remaining fans.

The Twittersphere did react to Shocked’s disgusting comments, and an uproar ensued. The Chicago Tribune reported that the management at SPACE, a venue in Evanston, contacted the San Francisco promoter to verify the story:

SPACE general manager/talent buyer Jake Samuels, who had booked Shocked previously without incident, said he confirmed with the San Francisco promoter that Shocked’s comments were “ugly in nature and not meant to be artistic or satirical in any way … It wasn’t a very hard decision for us.”

After reading that article, I decided to create a petition on Change.org, an online social change platform, to encourage other venues to follow SPACE’s example and cancel Shocked’s upcoming tour dates. (Please sign and share it if you haven’t already!)

michelle_shocked2And cancel they did. According to a schedule posted on Shocked’s website, the singer started the day yesterday with 11 confirmed concerts from Santa Monica to Madison. This morning, only two scheduled dates remain. (The shows after June are listed as “tentative” on Shocked’s site.) I spoke with one promoter last night who cancelled a show, and he confirmed that it was the deluge of emails he received from the Change.org petition that convinced him and others to show Shocked the door.

Needless to say, I’m proud that the pressure we’re all applying is making a difference. That promoter also reminded me, though, that the venues who are cancelling are taking a huge hit in terms of lost revenue, contracts, etc.; losses for unforeseen events like this can run into the thousands of dollars.

Consequently I’ve decided to include a list of the names, websites, cancellation statements, and social media profiles of all the venues who’ve canned Michelle Shocked. I hope you’ll join me in liking them on Facebook and thanking them for doing the right thing and standing up to anti-gay hate speech despite the substantial costs. And if you live in or traveling near any of them, consider paying a visit and expressing your appreciation in the form of dollars and cents!

Please thank and generously patronize these pro-equality venues!

NOTE: Madison, WI’s Harmony Bar and Grill is no longer hosting Michelle Shocked on May 4, but a venue representative confirmed to me in a telephone conversation today (and later to Pollstar) that Shocked’s management, not Harmony Bar and Grill themselves, made the decision. In light of that information, I would recommend against calling to thank them (they have no email address or social media presence), as the decision was made for them.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to the folks at Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland. According to their Facebook page, they’re organizing a special benefit concert for Basic Rights Oregon (the statewide LGBT equality organization) on the night Michelle Shocked was scheduled to play.

But we still have work to do. Several European venues have not yet cancelled Michelle Shocked’s scheduled appearances. Please sign and share the petition so we can make this a clean sweep for equality!

Folks, I’m a professional vocal musician, so I’m all about freedom of speech and artistic expression. I know how critically important they are. But Michelle Shocked’s appalling anti-gay screed isn’t about free speech, it’s hate speech. And in a world where LGBT people are bullied from the pulpit, on the playground, and at the polls, anti-gay hate speech can have serious consequences including legitimizing bullying and hate crimes, and increasing victims’ risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Let’s send a strong message to Michelle Shocked and other anti-gay artists that hate speech has no place on the concert stage.

20 comments

  1. Friends

    For a “name” star in the middle of a tour, this unprovoked tirade is absolutely inexplicable. It seems like a substance abuse issue, if not outright demonic possession. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next story about her lets us know that she has just checked herself into rehab. Shades of what’s-her-name Lohan!

  2. P. J.

    It’s people like Michelle Shock and other homophobic in the closet gays that come out attacking the gay community only to learn later that the person ranting has suppressed their issues for so long that this is the only way for them to get it out, start blaming the gay community and then want to include what God said. I guarantee you that she is a closet Lesbian and very soon we will read about her coming out. This would be a good time for her to come out of the closet.

  3. Janet O.

    Duh! Seriously, I have been thinking all of these years that Michelle Shock was gay. I didn’t believe what I was reading at first, because I really thought she was a lesbian and a part of the gay community.

  4. Colleen

    I’m no longer Shocked, just appalled. I’d say she’s trying to get back with her fundamentalist Mormon family and is playing up the prodigal daughter. Let’s see the hypocrite return all the money she got from her lesbian and gay fans, but she’ll probably use it to fund h8.

  5. Ken

    I’ve known Michelle personally for a long time. I certainly can’t speak for her, but I believe that she has long supported gay rights and she does support gay marriage. It seems possible she made some really bad choices in her presentation, and that she didn’t get to finish where she was going as people turned on her. I don’t know for sure. But I suggest people read entire Yahoo article http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/michelle-shocked-hatemonger-misunderstood-provocateur-005432281.html and wait for her response this week. John, I voted for Prop 8 and I am a straight man who supports gay rights. I do not support mob mentality or ruining careers before all the facts come out.

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  7. MadisonShawn

    Please do not hate on The Harmony Bar in Madison and don’t make nasty calls to them. The hardworking progressive owner is on a well-deserved vacation and his staff did not have the authority to make the final call. Those of us in Madison consider The Harmony as one of the most gay-friendly places in town and they would have been one of the first venues to drop the show.

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