Michelle Shocked has finally broken her silence about her awful “God hates fags” rant in San Francisco last weekend that earned the ire of thousands of equality supporters around the country and caused her entire U.S. tour to collapse in less than 48 hours.
Shocked’s explanation for her vile remarks? Y’all misunderstood me. CNN reports:
In a statement, Shocked says her comments were misinterpreted.
“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,” she said.
When she encouraged the audience to tweet that “Michelle Shocked says ‘God hates f**s,'” Shocked said 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 ten minutes later, in the encore.”
To her fans who’ve been disappointed by the incident, Shocked extends an apology.
“I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should,” she said. “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 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.
“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,” she went on. “And I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.”
“…my support for the LGBT community… has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue,” she said. “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.”
Sorry to rain on the parade here, but I’m not buying it. It strains credulity for Shocked to suggest that she was just kidding around during that entire anti-gay tirade. The audience at Yoshi’s, who walked out as Shocked delivered her rant, had no doubt that she was serious about what she was saying. Neither did the management, who banned her from ever returning. And the other venues, many of which are losing thousands of dollars by cancelling her shows, wouldn’t have taken such a drastic step if her remarks weren’t understood both as dead serious and utterly vile.
When a public figure causes a PR disaster by making shocking or ill-advised remarks, they or their representatives often try to rewrite what actually took place and reframe the story in a way that makes them look less unfavorable. It’s understandable, yet insincere. Shocked’s statement doesn’t strike me as a genuine, wholehearted apology; it smells like damage control. And damage control isn’t good enough.