In what can only be described as a shocking display of tone deafness, San Francisco Examiner president Todd Vogt announced via Twitter this weekend that the newspaper will present folk singer Michelle Shocked live in a free concert in San Francisco at the end of this month:
Readers will remember Shocked as the singer whose career imploded in March after she stunned a San Francisco audience with a vicious onstage homophobic tirade.
Shocked infamously remarked:
So it's not too late. You can jump into this Jesus gang anytime you want. But, um, I was in a prayer meeting yesterday, and you've gotta appreciate how scared, how scared folks on that side of the equation are. I mean, from their vantage point -- and I really shouldn't say 'their,' because it's mine, too -- we are nearly at the end of time. And from our vantage point, we're gonna be, uhhh, I think maybe Chinese water torture is gonna be the means, the method -- once Prop 8 gets, uh, instated, and once, um, 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.
And it got worse from there -- Shocked even said "God hates faggots" at one point.
Outcry from Shocked's many gay and lesbian fans and a petition created by this author resulted in the cancellation of Shocked's entire U.S. tour less than 48 hours after she made her bigoted remarks.
Shocked later displayed signs of a possible mental breakdown, including a bizarre interview with radio host Nicole Sandler and a publicity stunt where she protested with duct tape over her mouth outside a Santa Cruz, California club on the night she had been scheduled to play.
She also claimed her anti-gay remarks were misunderstood, which strains credulity when one looks at the reactions of the audience at the club that night (who walked out as Shocked ranted), the club's management (which banned her from ever returning), and Shocked's other tour venues (who cancelled her performances at a loss of thousands of dollars apiece). Clearly, they all perceived her vitriolic anti-gay screed as dead serious.
But for an obviously headline-hungry newspaper, that's all water under the bridge. Why should such astounding bigotry prevent Shocked from making an appearance in the gay capital of the U.S. -- and as Vogt gleefully pointed out, on the final day of that city's Pride celebration?
I'm beyond disgusted at this cynical publicity stunt. If the equality-minded citizens of San Francisco aren't able to shut Shocked's concert down, here's hoping they do the next best thing: ignore it completely.