Folk-Rocker Turned Gay-Hater Michelle Shocked Blames Queerty, “Lynch Mob” For Her Fall From Grace

I recently reached out to Michelle Shocked’s publicist, requesting an interview with the disgraced singer in hopes of clearing up the confusion that still surrounds the remarks she made earlier this year when she told an audience in San Francisco: “God hates fags.”

To my surprise, a few hours later, Shocked replied directly to my email, saying: “Feel free to suggest a conundrum that mystifies you about the Yoshi’s kerfuffle.”

Kerfuffle? Interesting choice of word.

She continued: “In my estimation, Queerty was a significant contributor to the social media lynch mob that gathered. The rush to judgment was enlightening and rather than me answering your questions, I have a few of my own for you, CitJo!”

Then she invited me to Tweet her the following Monday. She concluded the email by writing: “See you in the funny papers.”

CitJo? Funny papers? I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be insulted.

I responded:

“I’m curious how you feel Queerty’s coverage contributed to the problem, and what we and other media outlets got wrong. As I mentioned in my first email, I’ve felt this was probably a misunderstanding from the beginning, and that’s why I’m hoping to sort things out. I should mention, many of us at Queerty are fans of yours, which is why we were so confused and disappointed by what happened. But I’m of the belief that rather than getting upset, it’s better to get to the bottom of something, which is why I wanted to reach out to you.”

A few hours later, Shocked replied:

“Sorry I missed you on Twitter this morning. Matt Breen from The Advocate did his best in your absence and now we also have a lunch date on Saturday before my sojourn to SF for “Proud of Bradley Manning Day” Parade. Care to join us? His Twitter cartoon is quite handsome!”

Shocked was originally slotted to perform a free show at San Francisco’s Gay Pride celebration on June 30, but earlier this month officials announced they were canceling the concert, citing her “antigay comments.” Instead of a concert, Shocked’s website indicates she will be back at Yoshi’s, participating in a flash mob in support of Bradley Manning. The price to attend, her website says, is “priceless.”

After sifting through the Twitter feed between Shocked and Breen, and trying to make sense of her disjointed ramblings, occasional racism, and odd attempts at humor, I learned their lunch date appeared to be happening at a hot dog stand in Los Angeles.

I politely declined the invitation:

“I had a chance to read your conversation with Matt Breen on Twitter. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to join you on Saturday because I’m covering SF Pride all day that day. How about an interview via Skype? Alternatively, we could do an email interview. What do you say?”

Shocked replied two hours later to say she would only speak with me over Twitter, and that is where our conversation ended.

So I’m reading the tea leaves of her past here to get a better sense of where she went wrong.

Shocked’s last charting single was On the Greener Side, which reached #16 on the US Modern Rock charts in 1989. By industry standards, she peaked over 20 years ago.

At the apex of her career, she enjoyed a string of successful folk-rock albums, and even managed to nab a Grammy nomination in 1989 for Best Contemporary Folk Album. (She lost to fellow lesbian Tracy Chapman). During that time, Shocked also developed a healthy fan-base, consisting primarily of women.

By the mid 1990’s, however, Shocked’s career was on the decline. She was still a working artist, recording albums and performing live shows, but her popularity diminished, like many mid-career artists. Still, her loyal gay fan base stayed with her, buying her records and showing up at her concerts.

Behind the scenes, Shocked was going through a religious conversion. As her career was stalling, she joined the choir of the cultish West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, she became a born again Christian.

For the most part, she managed to keep her religious beliefs and her career separate from one another. At least until March 17 of this year, when she briefly made national headlines for launching that little antigay rant at Yoshi’s, a small but stylish concert venue on historic Fillmore Street in the heart of San Francisco.

Standing in front of an adoring crowd, many of whom were gay, Shocked announced:

“I live in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

Say what?

As if to drive home the point that she was not joking, she then said: “Go on Twitter and tell people Michelle Shocked hates fags.”

The tirade lasted almost 20 minutes when the Yoshi’s crew got fed up and shut off her microphone.

Then came the backlash. Queerty was among the first to post about the episode. The remainder of Shocked’s tour was cancelled.

Shocked, alone and playing the guitar, at a sit-in in Santa Cruz on March 28

But this strange and erratic behavior is not uncommon for Shocked. In response to her cancelled tour, she staged a bizarre sit-in at a concert venue in Santa Cruz, protesting by wearing a piece of tape across her mouth that read “Silenced By Fear.”

Fear of what, exactly?

When that failed to win people over, she appeared on Piers Morgan, where she insisted she was not homophobic. She professed her support of gay rights and of gay marriage, even if she no longer in any way, shape, or form identified as lesbian:

“I am, for the last 10 years, so deeply in love with a man, that the idea of living my life without him is impossible. I know how much I love him, and knowing that passion that I have for him, would I ever want to deny that to anyone else? Absolutely not.”

She also issued an apology, claiming her comments were misunderstood. In a statement, she said:

“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 continued:

“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 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.”

So was she parodying the wingers or mimicking them?

And why the heck is she mouthing the views of gay haters in any case? It’s not as if they lack a microphone.

Under normal circumstances, I would be inclined to believe a person in Shocked’s situation. Judging by interviews she’s given in the past, as well as by her Twitter feed, it’s clear she isn’t the most eloquent public speaker. She rambles and struggles to make her point. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that she misspoke and was misunderstood.

But then again, isn’t that the same excuse Mitt Romney used during the 2012 presidential election when he said 47% of Americans were lazy and entitled?

Ultimately, the statement reeked of a public figure in crisis mode. Shocked had been caught trying to have it both: Evangelizing gay people while simultaneously trying to get them and their indie friends to pay for her concerts.

Not going to happen.

The other problem: What happened at Yoshi’s wasn’t the first time Shocked made inflammatory statements against homosexuality.

At a concert in 2011, she told an audience of 1,700 people: “Who drafted me as a gay icon? You are looking at the world’s greatest homophobe. Ask God what He thinks.”

And in 2008, when discussing her status as an “honorary lesbian,” she told the Dallas Voice: “I’m a dug-in-the-heels fundamentalist who’s not too happy about it.”

As more and more stories of Shocked’s homophobia came to light, her fans left in droves.

It’s safe to say at this point that Shocked’s career is over. She can’t book a venue, and even if she could, there wouldn’t be anybody there to listen to her sing… or rant… or recite a poem… or do whatever it is she does these days.

It seems the only thing Shocked has left now is a prayer.

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  • yaoming

    Glad we could help.

  • ZeeZee

    I just hope she has a good mental health care provider, because it seems like something is seriously wrong with her mentally. The lady is ill. I hope she gets the right treatment and takes a good care of herself and maybe only then she will be able to rebuild her career. I pity her.

  • 2eo

    There is a certain delight that comes from the obliteration of a bigoted fuckhole. I’m glad we were named, we did a good job dissecting her bigotry. We should and are proud of her rightful decline.

    May your article about alcoholism in a “where are they now” VH1 special in 2019 be as short lived and useless as your belief in god.

  • Cam

    In the article you said “I’ve felt this was probably a misunderstanding from the beginning, and that’s why I’m hoping to sort things out.”


    What is it with the gay community that we are so desperate to not take things at face value? For too long we allowed people to claim that they weren’t bigots they just hated gays because of their religion, they weren’t bigots, they just believed in traditional marriage.

    Here you are, saying that there is a probably a misunderstanding even though Shocked has years of anti-gay remarks behind her.

    Just because you were a fan, you need to get over it. The woman was raised a Mormon, is now born again, is most likely a closet case who has bought into both her upbringing and now her new church, and who obviously has a major hatred of gays and most likely a few other mental issues.

    Nice of you to give her the benefit of the doubt. but giving people like these the benefit of the doubt does nothing but gives voice to their hatred of us.

    Good for Queerty for helping expose her.

  • Dionte

    I am blessed to not subscribe to that nuttiness.

  • TheArtist

    Can we just take her at her mentally unstable face value and forget her? She’s like Amanda Bynes. She has a lot of problems, is probably in need of medication or therapy, and should be talking to a therapist instead of an interviewer.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Sometimes the honeymoon stage of Christianity can have followers of it go off the deep end. My diagnosis is that she didn’t have good teachers. I also think that she is latent and cannot reconcile this, with what has been taught to her. A simple way to look at it is that one can tell what kind of spiritual soil, in which one’s roots are planted, by the fruit produced. If actions and words are hurtful, then examine the soil. She’s been exploited by her teachers. The result of this was unfortunate for everyone involved. I would like to see her rise and be well. It would be humbling to see the queer community take one on the chin and forgive, despite it. We are stronger than we know. We take on true hate and win. This misguided creature is not a true hater. Backing off will produce more fruit than crushing blows and merciless words.

  • mramseymd

    I had not heard of Shocked before she had her rant a few months back. I thought maybe she was just a born-again Christian. After this article and the background provided it’s pretty clear that she is quite mentally ill. I hope that she or someone who loves her recognizes the severity of her illness and gets help before she harms herself or someone else. I pity her.

  • Kieran

    If it weren’t for Queerty I’d never have heard of Michelle Shocked. She should be grateful for her 15 minutes.

  • DistingueTraces

    I’ve been a fan since 1989, and this couldn’t be more heartbreaking.

    It’s obvious that she is clever enough to spin herself stories that will prevent her from seeing her illness and getting help for it.

  • Jackhoffsky

    Personal Opinion: She may need some serious adjustments to her medication.

  • tazz602

    No comment – ok, one – someone like this deserves as much press as Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin and Lindsey Lohan, i.e. NONE – you did your best to allow her to state her position, now we can all move on and forget we ever heard of her, Michelle who?

  • itzallan

    Yet another sanity decimated by the embrace of fundamental religious reasoning. That nasty addiction can ruin your life.

  • cjc1414

    Never heard of this CRAZY BITCH, who the F–K is she?

  • LadyL

    Denial is a debilitating, depressing thing.

  • Will L

    She isn’t even a has-been. She’s a never-was. There are billions of crazy people in this world with that same amount of fame. No point in keeping us apprised of any further developments. In the words of Nancy Pelosi, “who cares?”

  • ShowMeGuy

    She’s still alive?

  • hephaestion

    She’s very seriously mentally ill. I hope she gets some help.

  • Dwight

    Graham – the error in your story is you’re expecting rational thought and behavior from someone who appears to be irrational.

  • Bob LaBlah

    The only thing I enjoyed about this article was the mentioning of Tracy Chapman, whom I am going on right now to hear her. As for this babbling, once was of a singer, if it were left up to me I would have charged her for this article. I never heard of heard and personally don’t think anyone cares.

  • Ogre Magi

    What a dumb-arse she is

  • LaTeesha

    Textbook bat shit crazy.

  • zrocqs

    @DistingueTraces: Love your nom de post. Which leads me to invite all Queerty readers to visit Youtube and find the song “Lush Life” to experience some incredible music. (Light-years better than Michelle Shocked, IMO.)

    Best version: Sarah Vaughan. (Ethereal. The best recording ever anywhere anything, ever?)

    Others who slay it: Jose James (so easy to drool over), Andy Bey, Queen Latifah(!), and another performer who disappointed us (30 yrs ago), Donna Summer.

  • glitterbang

    Amen! This was EXTREMELY & bitingly well-written! I’m always baffled by entertainers who make their living off the public & yet who then go OUT OF THEIR WAY to publicly vent their personal opinions knowing full well they will be offending some of their fans.

  • FaerieLad

    She has Michelle Bachman eyes……..yup, bat shit crazy!!

  • jack512

    She is just another troubled soul taken in by Wingnut Conservative Christianity. “End Times” LOL!!!

  • Fael

    This woman is famous or something? Never heard of her… Anyway, it is clear that she has emotional problems, in this case it is better ignore and leave a psychologist to take care of her.

  • Gerry

    IMO, there’s no sense in interacting with Michelle Shocked anymore. I’ll still listen to my copy of “Short, Sharp, Shocked,” but nothing else. There’s nothing progressive that she’s offering that we can’t find from a more coherent, sane, and non-gay-hating source.

    I will mention one thing for the record. I do remember reading the liner notes of ’94’s “Kind Hearted Woman” (ain’t irony wonderful?) and being surprised at her references to god and to a husband. One cut on the album is about losing a child. For those who had been watching carefully, this has been brewing for a long, long time.

  • queerty1958

    Ms Shocked needs to take responsibility for what she said and stop blaming others! That’s the ADULT thing to do!

  • mcflyer54

    Too many religious types with their never ending whining. Boo hoo, they are so discriminated against, misunderstood and persecuted. Well, last time I read my Bible I don’t recall Jesus whining and he was certainly far more persecuted than any of today’s so called Christians. So suck it up – takes responsibility for yourself, your beliefs and your words – blaming others is the cowards way.

  • Teleny

    I remember when she came out and felt like she deliberately sought out a Lesbiian following. And wasn’t she a Lesbian at some point? Really, all of her rankings just sound like the manifestations of some mental health problems.

  • jmmartin

    No wonder she hates gay men, she is so ugly only ugly guys will hit on her, and I mean REALLY ugly guys.

  • Northboy

    Shock’s obviously using the same publicists as Paula Deen. It just gets worse and worse. She need’s to hire Alec Baldwin’s publicists; they can smooth over ANYTHING!

  • Kevindraws53

    I wish that I’d known she was in Santa Cruz to protest. I would have driven there from San Jose to give each of the recordings I own back to her. Michelle who??

  • GeriHew

    That was very straight of you Queerty Graham – referring to Michelle Shocked and Tracy Chapman as fellow lesbians.

  • Jimmy

    I hated her crappy boring music back the late eighties. Now I hate both her and her crappy boring music. I just read on her Wikipedia page that her mother had her committed to a psychiatric hospital when she was a teenager. It appears she’s had mental problems for a very long time.

  • Kristin Rawls

    I wrote the 2011 article, and she hates me for reporting information that was used to bolster the case against her “this was all just a performance art experiment” defense. She has created several twitter accounts for the sole purpose of trolling and harassing me, and many people, like the reporter who first broke the story, have been targeted much worse than me. It’s been over a year since I last thought about Michelle Shocked, but she’s found me on twitter again under a handful of sockpuppets (Her original twitter account was banned from twitter because of her harassment.). The woman is not well. When I met and interviewed her that time, she repeated over and over, “You’re my enemy. You’re my enemy. You’re my enemy.” I hated at the time to pick on someone who is clearly mentally ill, but she really needs to get help soon and stop inflicting her shit on everyone else.

  • Kristin Rawls

    By the way, did anyone else notice how she’s very VERY clear about supporting Chelsea Manning’s involvement with Anonymous, but still insists on using her birth name and misgenders her repeatedly? That’s interesting, a transphobic “protest” in support of someone that ignores her gender identity. Chelsea must be so grateful.

  • devinjgray

    I think that what’s going on here is more concrete than a bisexual transphobic born-again Christian trying to have it both ways, or pretending that her homophobic remarks are just her way of mocking homophobic people. Michelle Shocked appears to be quite mentally ill, with an increasingly fragile grip on reality.

  • devinjgray

    Kristin, I’m a little concerned if she’s hunting you down that way. Please be careful, and make sure you’re safe…

  • Kristin Rawls

    @devinjgray: Thanks. I do live across the country from her, so I’m not as worried as I think some others should be. I’ve been contacted, for example, by women who say that she had a male friend threaten them with rape. And I’m told that she (or someone working with her) went to someone’s home, took private photographs of their family and posted everything online. Also, someone tweeted, “ONLY a handful of twitter accounts to harass you? You’re lucky.” So yeah.

    And yes, I think it’s clear she’s dealing with something very serious, but it’s her responsibility to get help for that and not treat others like this. If she hadn’t alienated and driven away her manager, and if anyone would still work with her, maybe they could help her. But she seems to have alienated everyone.

  • devinjgray

    That sounds a lot less like “mentally ill” and a lot more like “criminally insane”…

    • Kristin Rawls

      @devinjgray: Good point. I would file a restraining order if I lived remotely close to her or I felt she had the means to find my home.

  • Kristin Rawls

    In the first report I wrote about her, I chose not to report any of the really out there stuff she said to me personally. I thought I could make it clear what her point of view was without unnecessarily picking on someone who is not well. I did write about it later in 2013, but I had a very difficult time deciding what was ethical to report and what wasn’t. And I think at this point people just need to know she’s very out of touch with reality.

    • devinjgray

      It’s a little tricky though, isn’t it, because at the same time that you want to respect the ill, you sorta have a responsibility to warn people that there’s good reason to believe she may be dangerous…

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