Michelle Shocked Issues Apology for Anti-Gay Rant

Michelle Shocked performs on the fourth day of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival that is taking place at the Fair Grounds Race Course located in New Orleans.
Photo: Jason Moore/Corbis

A few days after reportedly ranting against gays at her show in San Francisco, and after losing a whole bunch of work, folk singer Michelle Shocked sent a statement to KQED, Northern California’s public radio station. Besides saying she’s “damn sorry,” it argues her comments were taken out of context. She wasn’t saying that “God hates homosexuals,” but that “some of His followers believe that.” Later she added: “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.” Clearer is the important word; as you can hear in the audio from the performance below, her speech was more than a little bit all over the place. Also, you can read the full apology below and then maybe spend some time thinking about how silly the stage name “Shocked” is.

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. I believe intolerance comes from fear, and these folks are genuinely scared. When I said “Twitter that Michelle Shocked says “God hates faggots,” I 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.

And to those fans who are disappointed by what they’ve heard or think I said, I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. But don’t believe everything you read on facebook or twitter. My view of homosexualtiy 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 Faggots,” I say they should be met with mercy, not hate. And   I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.

Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband. My sexuality is not at issue. What is being questioned is my support for the LGBT community, and that has never wavered. Music and activism have always been part of my work and my journey, which I hope and intend to continue. I’d like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I’m really not that clever, and I’m definitely not that cynical.

But 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.

Michelle Shocked Apologizes for Anti-Gay Rant