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‘Why is anyone surprised?’: Morrissey’s Sinead O’Connor blast

Tributes of Sinead O'Connor

Over the years, former Smiths frontman Morrissey has made quite a few controversial statements and on Friday (Australian time), he weighed in on the death of Sinead O’Connor.

O’Connor, who changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat after converting to Islam, died in London earlier this week, aged 56.

The Metropolitan Police said on Friday she was found unresponsive in her London apartment. Authorities say the circumstances around the Irish-born singer’s death are not suspicious.

Since O’Connor’s death was announced, fellow musicians, actors, politicians and other influential figures have penned tributes, expressing their sorrow.

Morrissey took a different tack, taking aim at the industry that shunned O’Connor, and highlighting its hypocrisy after her death.

She was dropped by her label after selling seven million albums for them. She became crazed, yes, but uninteresting, never. She had done nothing wrong,” Morrissey wrote on his website.

“She had proud vulnerability … and there is a certain music industry hatred for singers who don’t ‘fit in’ (this I know only too well), and they are never praised until death – when, finally, they can’t answer back.”

After her 1990 chart-topping cover of Nothing Compares 2 U catapulted her to the top, O’Connor took a stance against sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. Famously, she tour up a photo of the Pope in a 1992 appearance on Saturday Night Live.

For that, she was vilified by the media, her industry peers and many among the public. But, even though her career was damaged in the SNL fallout, she went on to release more music.

Yet, as Morrissey pointed out, this week’s praise after O’Connor’s untimely death at age 56 is a little too late.

The cruel playpen of fame gushes with praise for Sinead today … with the usual moronic labels of ‘icon’ and ‘legend’. You praise her now ONLY because it is too late.You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you,” he said.

“The press will label artists as pests because of what they withhold … and they would call Sinead sad, fat, shocking, insane … oh but not today!

“Music CEOs who had put on their most charming smile as they refused her for their roster are queuing-up to call her a “feminist icon”, and 15 minute celebrities and goblins from hell and record labels of artificially aroused diversity are squeezing onto Twitter to twitter their jibber-jabber … when it was YOU who talked Sinead into giving up … because she refused to be labelled, and she was degraded, as those few who move the world are always degraded.”

 “Why is ANYBODY surprised that Sinead O’Connor is dead?”

That was the question Morrissey posed.

“Who cared enough to save Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, Billie Holiday?” he asked, referring to female artists who were also troubled and died young.

“Where do you go when death can be the best outcome? Was this music madness worth Sinead’s life? No, it wasn’t.”

Morrissey described O’Connor as a “challenge”, because she couldn’t be “boxed-up”, saying she had the courage to speak out while others stayed “safely silent”.

He determined she was harassed for just being herself.

While many people acknowledged there was truth to Morrissey’s words, some were shocked to find they agreed with him, given his history of controversial statements.

The former lead of popular band The Smiths has become infamous for scathing comments about public figures, immigrants and women. He has also allegedly supported the far right political party For Britain.

A few noted many of the causes O’Connor advocated were at odds with Morrissey’s past comments and apparent beliefs.

Fans pay tribute to O’Connor

O’Connor’s family confirmed her death in a statement earlier this week after police were called to her London residence on Wednesday morning (local time).

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

London Inner South Coroner’s Court said it had been notified of O’Connor’s death.

“No medical cause of death was given. The coroner therefore directed an autopsy to be conducted. The results of this may not be available for several weeks,” the court said in a statement.

While O’Connor’s voice captivated the masses, perhaps she will most fondly for her activism.

Her criticisms of Catholicism were especially controversial in parts of Ireland but also a brave representation of a shift in society away from the Church. Its deep influence began to collapse later that decade amid a string of clerical child sex abuse scandals.

Even O’Connor’s shaved head, which she later covered when she converted to Islam, was a bold statement against femininity and beauty ideals.

Since her death, fans have left floral tributes outside the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum in Dublin and her old home in nearby Bray.

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