No longer leonine or otherworldly, simply another schtick puppet jiggling through his own schtick in the schtick zoo for the amusement of people on trains who are too afraid of their own thoughts to look out the window. That’s not the Morrissey we want. But it’s the Morrissey that Twitter has in store for us. (Vice, May 2014)
(As of January 2021, he has not engaged on Twitter)
Morrissey has yet to be implicated in the post-Weinstein reckoning. (Overland Literary Journal, November 2017)
(As of January 2021, no accusations have been made)
Morrissey In Satanic Baby Record Sleeve Shocker… (he’s) been painted as a few unpleasant things in his time – Nazi, control freak, skinhead-appeaser, reggae-hater, sanctimonious vegetarian… More disturbing, though, is the baby that he’s holding. Whose is it, for a start? Ponder that, and look at the baby’s forehead… what on earth are those lumps and bumps, arranged in a suspicious pattern? Might not they be a pentagram carved into the poor mite’s perplexed noggin? (The Quietus, December 2008)*
(As of January 2021, the child is unharmed)
*Although The Quietus say they’re ‘joshing’ – insinuating that there’s something disturbing and suspicious about a gay man (as they label him in a later article) holding a child, taps into a very ugly stereotype, and the joke doesn’t have any other target. Their self-declared anti-fascism has a serious blind-spot.
“Most interviews I have been very displeased with because, obviously, you don’t have any control. You can be very merry in an interview and it can come across as being very dour. Or you can say something flippantly which will be written in blood in the music press and it sounds as though you’re deadly serious. You’re throwing yourself on the mercy of a journalist who can be friendly during the interview but can turn out to be something of a behemoth in print.” (Morrissey, 1983)
In November, 2017, Morrissey gave an interview in LA to Der Spiegel journalist, Juliane Liebert.
The way she framed the questions and the way she wrote up the answers would lead to Morrissey being accused of threatening to kill Trump, being a rape apologist, and hating refugees.
He’d been through all this before – the press taking his meandering thoughts about politics, or his lyrics, and turning them into inflammatory rows about child abuse, racism and violence, blaming him for the anger generated by their own journalese, when his main interests are animals, the misuse of state/media power, and music.
Signs of trouble (from the audio):
He directly relates news to mental health – & she doesn’t ask if or how it affected him.
He speaks very gently & gets written up as if he’s ranting.
She’s been told not to ask about politics – she asks anyway.
He tells her he’s exhausted by journalists saying he means something that he doesn’t mean, happily talking to him & then morally correcting him in print. Which is what she does.
He’s not sleeping. (She would write that he kept her waiting as a power move, when it’s far more likely he was too tired.)
She calls Jackie a stupid song & laughs when he says he tries to look good – which is when she should have been politely shown the door.
He reads 8 or so books at a time but has never heard of the BDS movement so he might have ideas but he’s got no grassroots experience.
He’s talking about political structures & she’s talking about Twitter shitstorms.
The vast bulk of the interview is about animals & music; his main purpose is getting abattoirs banned – he compares it to Auschwitz again (which always goes down badly because most people can’t imagine seeing animals as equal). He doesn’t like generic songs. Most of it is cut.
She asks him if he would kill Trump. He says he would. (It’s hypothetical, but in December 2017, he would claim that the American security services had questioned him about making death threats)
She asks if he’s been following #MeToo, he says, ‘to some extent, yes, but then it became a play.’ He says nothing about Weinstein at all. He talks about keeping perspective, clumsy courtships & later twists back on to the casting couch in general.
Other celebrities would make stronger points (most of them memoryholed).
She asks about Kevin Spacey being replaced in a film. He’d been accused of sexually assaulting a 14 year old in his bedroom after a party when he was in his 20s. Morrissey questions the circumstances based on music’s groupie scene. She mentions David Bowie who slept with 14 year olds in his 20s. He condemns all forms of sexual violence. But thinks this story doesn’t ring true (probably because of Bowie) and that Spacey might have been unfairly attacked.
The press/Twitter would claim that he was robustingly defending Weinstein and Spacey, callously blaming the victims, while in full possession of the facts of their cases.
The interview moves on to politics. She thinks bad leaders look like cartoon villains. He thinks the EU is the German Empire. (It does have the most clout.)
He talks about countries retaining their own identity – language, laws, common ground, things that people have fought for – it’s not really controversial, but multiculturalism is one of those buzzwords where you’re not allowed nuance – you must be wholly for or against – because that makes it quicker to write an opinion piece. (Dorian Lynskey, in The New Statesman, will write that this means Morrissey approves of the Nazis.)
After Labour was defeated in the December election of 2019, the left would start to grapple with identity in exactly the way (Irish Catholic English) Morrissey has always been grappling with it.
In parts of the left, there is an unattractive blind spot that misses the importance of collective attachment to an inherited landscape, both physical and emotional. That landscape is not immutable but it shapes a sense of belonging and context. For many Leave voters, particularly those who have traditionally voted Labour, the emotional landscape of “England” has offered a way to express communal values neglected during 30 years of excessive individualism, licensed by both left and right. (The Observer, January 2021)
He then takes a jab at Angela Merkel’s handling of the 2015 refugee crisis and said Berlin had turned into the rape capital of Europe (which is either hyperbole or a viral story he picked up from somewhere). He was blaming Merkel for the chaos, but it was taken as an attack on refugees.
There had been reports of increased sexual assaults, which wasn’t surprising considering how many refugees were young men without any family support.
“Crimes committed by [asylum-seeking] immigrants saw a disproportionate increase last year — there’s nothing there we can gloss over,” said German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. He said when it came to violent crimes there were “about 90 per cent more immigrant suspects in 2016” than in the prior year. (Financial Times, April, 2017)
Morrissey’s stance on these things is macro, the refugee crisis shouldn’t have happened; because there shouldn’t be global inequality, we shouldn’t wage war & we shouldn’t destroy the environment.
In his roundabout way, it’s class-based socialism.
The destruction and abandonment of labor politics means that, at present, immigration issues can only play out within the framework of a culture war, fought entirely on moral grounds. In the heightened emotions of America’s public debate on migration, a simple moral and political dichotomy prevails. It is “right-wing” to be “against immigration” and “left-wing” to be “for immigration.” But the economics of migration tell a different story. (Angela Negle, American Affairs Journal, November 2018)
Liebert says he’s against all immigration.
Morrissey tries to clarify, no, he isn’t, with a squeal, but it’s too late.
Journalists are under no obligation to print everything & only have to prove you said those words, however they edited them. Interpretation, however unfair, is fair comment.
He reacted badly to the way it was sensationalised:
Der Spiegel released the audio, timestamping the most controversial passages, so that most people would miss the lead up and follow on.
He had talked about Trump, Refugees and Spacey and that was enough for everyone to declare that he had been caught lying.
He released a sorrowful video on his nephew’s YouTube account, in December 2017:
Suddenly, I was sympathizing with sexual harassment. I was apparently sympathizing with pedophilia, I was sympathizing with rape, I was sympathizing with everything that would persuade anybody on the planet to stop listening to me. Of course, none of those assumptions were true. I do not support anything like that. You can hear it even in the tone of my voice… However, this is the world we now live in with the print media. It seems to me that, in the first place, they get very angry or very excited if you stop to say something that people are listening to or that reflect the will of the people. They get very nervous. They won’t allow it. They shut it down and so forth… But also, it seems to me that, in England at the moment, the right wing has adopted a left wing stance, and the left wing has adopted a right wing stance, so everybody’s confused, and nobody seems to know what people mean. This shuts down free speech. This shuts down any open debate about anything. And consequently, we’re all in a mess, and we don’t know where we stand… So I fear that the campaign for Low in High School and for the surrounding singles was derailed and damaged purposely by the haters. They’re not listening to the music. They’re not listening to anything, really. They see my name, and they want to get rid of it as quickly as possible.And as I said, in many ways, they do succeed. There’s not really that much you can do about it.
It’s been argued that if he can’t explain himself in a way that chimes with popular debates in the press, then he deserves all he gets. But that means you’re limiting who can participate in the arts to people who are good at press and marketing, which would also restrict the type of art they’re likely to make.
And although he wasn’t part of the culture war – his political focus is relentlessly on animals, and anyone who thought he would become a pundit was sorely disappointed – he had picked up on a real problem.
The left was behaving very much like the right. Anyone who tells you that virtue signalling on Twitter is a good thing, is someone who depends on likes and RTs for their living or their self-esteem. It’s had a catastrophic impact on public life. Polarizing debates, hounding people for saying problematic things, or even for being friends with someone who has, pushing people to the right for solidarity, and rendering us incapable of understanding that good people can have different ideas and experiences from our own fiercely held tribal positions.
… One grandstands when one makes a contribution to public moral discourse that aims to convince others that one is “morally respectable.” By this we mean that grandstanding is a use of moral talk that attempts to get others to make certain desired judgments about oneself, namely, that one is worthy of respect or admiration because one has some particular moral quality—for example, an impressive commitment to justice, a highly tuned moral sensibility, or unparalleled powers of empathy. To grandstand is to turn one’s contribution to public discourse into a vanity project. (Justin Tosi, Brandon Warmke, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Summer 2016)
The internet… has encouraged us to hole ourselves up in ideological fortresses; to build moats around our value systems, to pull up our mental drawbridges; and to fire verbal arrows at anyone with a different perspective… with little room for uncertainty or nuance. The way we are pressured to “cancel” public figures we once admired is spiteful and reductive… It means many of us have a predetermined position on news stories even before they break. (Dani Garavelli, The Scotsman, October 2020)
While fluidity of identity, plurality, and multiplicity are always claimed on behalf of the VC members — partly to cover up their own invariably wealthy, privileged, or bourgeois-assimilationist background — the enemy is always to be essentialized. Since the desires animating the VC are in large part priests’ desires to excommunicate and condemn, there has to be a strong distinction between Good and Evil, with the latter essentialized. Notice the tactics. X has made a remark/has behaved in a particular way — these remarks/ this behavior might be construed as transphobic/sexist etc. So far, okay. But it’s the next move which is the kicker. X then becomes defined as a transphobe/sexist etc. Their whole identity becomes defined by one ill-judged remark or behavioral slip. Once the VC has mustered its witch-hunt, the victim (often from a working class background, and not schooled in the passive-aggressive etiquette of the bourgeoisie) can reliably be goaded into losing their temper, further securing their position as pariah/latest to be consumed in feeding frenzy. (Mark Fisher, Exiting The Vampire Castle, 2013)
In a June 2018 interview with Fiona Dodwell, Morrissey said (of Anne Marie Waters)
she wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law. I find this compelling, now, because it’s very obvious that Labour or the Tories do not believe in free speech… I mean, look at the shocking treatment of Tommy Robinson…
This is his only mention of Robinson and it relates to the law.
Sometime in the 2010s Morrissey’s obsession with animals had reached the point where his main ambition was the total abolition of the abattoir.
“The slaughterhouse is the dead end for humanity, and as long as it exists we can’t possibly have any hope for the human race… If you’ve seen abattoir footage then you cannot possibly think that humans are anything other than evil pests… If your views threaten any form of establishment interests, you are usually ignored or silenced or said to be ‘ranting’. I have never ranted in my life.” (HuffPost, June 2015)
In August 2016 he gave an interview to an Australian news site – it was his usual mordant mix of politics, music, and animals. All meat-eaters get equal wistful ire – David Cameron, The Royals, Iceland… He’s asked about standing for London mayor, he doesn’t fancy his chances.
I could see the pointlessness of stepping in. The BBC now do not give you news, but they give you their opinion, and therefore they give anyone a very hard time if that person does not suit the convenience and prejudices of the established elite. Therefore liberal educators such as George Galloway and Nigel Farage are loathed by the BBC because both men respect equal freedom for all people, and they are not remotely intimidated by the BBC. The Mayor was eventually elected on very few votes, and of course he eats Halal butchered beings, and talks so quickly that people can’t understand him … and that suits the British media perfectly.
In The Guardian, Hadley Freeman, took this section and decided it made him a libertarian racist, weirdly she seems to have missed that he spent most of the 90s being called a racist for holding a Union Jack.
It’s the emphatic inclusion of “halal” that adds a spicy hint of racism to Morrissey’s animal rights campaigning, doesn’t it?
And while it’s perverse to approve of two politicians from opposite ends of the spectrum, probably because they’re never likely to become Prime Ministers, it wasn’t worth the snark.
Morrissey seems to have taken it as a sign that he wasn’t allowed to talk about animal suffering if it involved religion, even though welfare organisations, including the RSPCA call for an end to unstunned religious slaughter.
I can’t see how opposing Halal slaughter makes me racist when I’ve objected to ALL forms of animal slaughter all of my life. (Morrissey Central, April 2019)
Hence his interest in Anne Marie Waters, a former left-wing activist, who had been recruited by far right grifter Tommy Robinson, who seems to have convinced her that the left would never put women’s rights (her particular angle) before Sharia Law, as administered by Sharia Courts, the first known one in Britain being established in 1982 in order to “solve the matrimonial problems of Muslims living in the United Kingdom in the light of Islamic family law”, for example marriages, divorce and inheritance issues”.
Ms Waters, 39, who has twice tried to stand for election as a Labour candidate, is focusing much of her campaign on Muslim grooming gangs who have been convicted of sexually abusing girls in several English cities.
Anne Marie is the director of Sharia Watch UK, a watchdog which says its “particularly concerned with the elements of sharia law which are discriminatory and violent towards women and girls, and which endanger and threaten the democratic principle of freedom of speech.
Recently, I sought help to fund a consultation with defamation solicitors to discuss the legal position regarding newspapers referring to people as “far-right”, “fascist” or “racist” simply because we speak negatively about Islam. Those of us who do so are frequently subject to smears from the press, which portrays us bigots and liars.
At a book launch in June 2014, she said, Islam was an ideology that was being appeased by the state and ‘it is exactly the same appeasement that is allowing young girls to be raped in Britain, it’s got nothing to do with race, it’s got to do with the fact that we will not confront the misogyny at the very, very heart of this religion’.
There’s no evidence that Islam had anything to do with the grooming gang scandal but it’s true that for 20 years the police and social workers turned a blind eye to groups of mainly Muslim men sexually exploiting white girls, and a few people who raised concerns were labeled racists.
Anne Marie seems genuinely tormented by the idea that religion gives men a licence to abuse, Tommy cheerfully latches on to anything that causes racial strife – from ‘reporting’ Asian grooming gangs in 2018 (online misinformation made it sound as if the courts were protecting the accused, rather than trying to avoid prejudicing the trial), to supporting Muslim parents who wanted LGBT+ teaching materials removed from primary schools, in 2020.
And the left really is intensely bad at dealing with anything to do with race that isn’t white supremacy.
‘There’s a persistent taboo on the Left which demands that every incident of terror be attributed to American foreign policy… But Islamists aren’t killing cartoonists because the U.S. invaded Iraq. And ISIS isn’t exterminating the Yazidis because of America’s sordid relationship with Saudi Arabia.’
In April 2018, on Central, Morrissey recommended Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe, a conservative (at best) book that gathers so many true incidences of rights clashes between Islam and liberal values that you could miss the conspiracy theory that underpins it – that Cultural Marxists hate the West so much they’re allowing Saudi Arabia to stealth colonise it.
Morrissey repeated a couple of talking points about crime cover-ups – but not enough to be deeply into the alt-right, and he’s never walked back on his hatred for their hero, Trump.
“Trump has received so much attention, especially when compared to other candidates – Bernie Sanders, for example. Although the media said he would not win, every day, all the headlines: Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump!.. The American media helped Trump, yes, they first created it. Whether they criticise him or laugh at him, he does not care, he just wants to see his picture and his name. The American media have shot themselves in the leg… Since he has been in power, he has exhausted the world… He grabs after everything like a little child. He is not a leader. He is a pest… I never expected him to be elected. Maybe, I have no faith in the political elite anymore.” (Der Spiegel, November 2017)
Even in Fiona’s interview he mostly focuses on animals, music, and escaping England.
…they assume you’ve adopted the moral high ground by refusing to eat a dead animal. And they’re right! But you only take the stand on behalf of the butchered animal – you don’t make money from your point of view. You become the voice of the animal …. who kicked and struggled to hang on to life, but who was chopped up because some fat oaf in Woking fancied some commercial-break nibbles. The truth is, vegans are actually superior beings. A television documentary recently covered a duck farm somewhere in England, and as all the chicks emerged from their incubator chirping away, the TV presenter said “Ooh they’re so cute, they’re so beautiful, oh look, look at their little faces,” and then she turned to the camera with a straight face and said matter-of-factly “the chicks will be allowed to live for 8 weeks and will then be slaughtered” and I thought, wow, people really ARE utterly stupid, aren’t they? This is what you’re up against – recognition that the chicks were beautiful, yet not ALLOWED to live longer than 8 weeks because someone wants to suck on their innards. It’s barbaric. Do people realize how deadly they sound?
There are a lot of singers who just want to get on the TV and be looked at. I know I do. Sorry, that was a joke.
I love to travel now, and I feel very excited to be in Turkey, Poland, Finland, Israel, and so on. Whether they actually want me there is entirely another matter. But, of course, it’s always great to get away from Channel 4 News. In fact, that really is the main reason to travel …
Ex-fan Stewart Lee however decided that mentioning Tommy Robinson’s name meant that there’s no longer any way to make the case that Morrissey ever meant anything other than what he says – that he was telling a Bengali that he didn’t belong in the UK (Bengali In Platforms), that he was saying England should be for the English (National Front Disco), even though Morrissey is an Irish Catholic who didn’t feel he belonged in England and was called a ‘Paddy’ at school, not because of his middle-name, but because he was Irish.
“I don’t think I’ve ever really had a Manchester accent. The accent is really quite broad, whereas I’ve always had a very flat accent – there’s a soft lilt in there somewhere. But then you have to remember my background. My parents are from Dublin, they met and married there… My mother’s family grew up in Pearse Street but later moved to Crumlin where my father’s from. Going back even further my mother’s father was from Cashel. Their name was McInnerny and they used to own half of Cashel, they were wealthy land owners – there’s still a few of them down there. So with so much Irishness around us, my sister and I growing up, never really felt we were Mancunians…My Irishness was never something I hid or camouflaged. I grew up in a strong Irish community. Of course, early on I’d be teased about it, I was called `Paddy’ from an early age. I mean, there I was, born, braised and bred in Manchester but I was still always called `Paddy’. And this was back in the 1960s when it was a bitter and malevolent slur. But that’s how Manchester people are – they’re extremely critical of everything and everybody.”
“I’ve always been independent in the true sense of the word and I shall remain so. I’ve never been part of anything. I’ve never belonged to anything. Even when The Smiths were doing Top Of The Pops we felt like outsiders. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been on EMI, Mercury or RCA, I’ve always maintained the true spirit that I feel. (Irish Times, November, 1999)
In 1986 The Smiths were interviewed by Frank Owen, an ex-musician from Manchester.
Frank was interested in hip-hop and house music by then but couldn’t get any of the music press in England to cover it, ‘they’d say, “What do you want to write about all these grungy Negroes in there?”‘
The main thrust of his article would be an attempt to get Morrissey to talk about the punk-gay-disco scene they’d both been part of and to get him to come out as gay.
The music journalist Simon Reynolds had split pop into Indie and Black. Indie was ‘intelligent’ and Black was ‘crude showbiz’.
Frank seemed unaware that Simon was tapping into the racist trope that black people are all about the body.
Worse, he claimed, with absolutely no evidence and no sign of disapproval, that Morrissey was singing about ‘hanging black DJs’ in the song Panic, which was about Radio 1 playing a chirpy band like Wham after announcing the Chernobyl nuclear leak.
But the question he put to Morrissey was ‘so is the music of The Smiths and their ilk racist, as Green claims?’ (Green Gartside was the lead singer of Scritti Politti.)
Moz defended Indie by saying:
“Reggae, for example, is to me the most racist music in the entire world. It’s an absolute total glorification of black supremacy… There is a line when defence of one’s race becomes an attack on another race and, because of black history and oppression, we realise quite clearly that there has to be a very strong defence. But I think it becomes very extreme sometimes. But, ultimately, I don’t have very cast iron opinions on black music other than black modern music which I detest. I detest Stevie Wonder. I think Diana Ross is awful. I hate all those records in the Top 40 – Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston. I think they’re vile in the extreme. In essence this music doesn’t say anything whatsoever.”
He accepts that reggae has to be strong, just thinks it might be extreme sometimes.
And there does seem to have been some concern about it in the 70s, in the same way that Skins and Punks were a concern.
In 1978 the NME journalists Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons, in their book The Boy Looked At Johnny, had said about Reggae:
The 1979 sociology book Rastaman by Ernest Cashmore, explored elements of racial superiority, homophobia and sexism in Rasta youth culture.
Morrissey’s use of the word ‘vile’ is a camp affectation but he had a habit of being airily scathing about nearly everything that wasn’t his fierce love of the moment.
Frank countered with, black music is more subtle because it works on the body via the dancefloor, Moz wasn’t convinced.
“I don’t think there’s any time anymore to be subtle about anything, you have to get straight to the point. Obviously to get on Top Of The Pops these days, one has to be, by law, black. I think something political has occurred among Michael Hurl and his friends and there has been a hefty pushing of all these black artists and all this discofied nonsense into the Top 40. I think, as a result, that very aware younger groups that speak for now are being gagged.”
The ‘by law’ was a joke /hyperbole. He’d previously used it about himself.
Well, I wouldn’t stand on a table and should, ‘I’m a feminist’ or put a red stamp across my forehead, but if one tends towards prevalent feminist views, by law, you immediately become one. Likewise, if you have great sympathy with gay culture you are immediately a transsexual. I did one interview where the gay issue was skirted over in three seconds and when the interview emerged in print, there I was emblazonedacross the headlines as this great voice of the gay movement, as if I couldn’t possibly talk about anything else. I find that extremely harmful and I simply don’t trust anyone anymore. (Morrissey, The Face, July 1984)
And his ire was aimed at Top of The Pops producer Michael Hurl, who is not black.
Frank put it in terms of black and white, ‘You seem to be saying that you believe that there is some sort of black pop conspiracy being organised to keep white indie groups down.’
Moz, not picking up on it, kept it about escapism and real life, and is still blaming (white, male) producers:
“Yes, I really do.The charts have been constructed quite clearly as an absolute form of escapism rather than anything anyone can gain any knowledge by. I find that very disheartening because it wasn’t always that way. Isn’t it curious that practically none of these records reflect life as we live it? Isn’t it curious that 93 and a half percent of these records reflect life as it isn’t lived? That foxes me! If you compare the exposure that records by the likes of Janet Jackson and the stream of other anonymous Jacksons get to the level of daily airplay that The Smiths receive – The Smiths have had at least 10 consecutive chart hits and we still can’t get on Radio 1′s A list. Is that not a conspiracy? The last LP ended up at number two and we were still told by radio that nobody wanted to listen to The Smiths in the daytime. Is that not a conspiracy? I do get the scent of a conspiracy.And, anyway, the entire syndrome has one tune and surely that’s enough to condemn the entire thing.”
Frank asks him if he finds Black music macho, Moz says it isn’t his world, and adds:
I don’t want to feel in the dock because there are some things I dislike. Having said that, my favourite record of all time is “Third Finger, Left Hand” by Martha and the Vandellas which can lift me from the most doom-laden depression.
Frank accuses him of being a nostalgic luddite (later journalist Tony Fletcher will accuse him of not wanting black people to prosper in the present), Moz is unconvinced about technology.
‘Hi-tech can’t be liberating. It’ll kill us all. You’ll be strangulated by the cords of your compact disc.’
Frank asks him about the violence in Manchester and the lyrics of Never Had No One Ever and Morrissey explains they’re about how confused he felt about not feeling at home where he was born because his parents were from Ireland.
“It was the frustration that I felt at the age of 20 when I still didn’t feel easy walking around the streets on which I’d been born, where all my family had lived – they’re originally from Ireland but had been here since the Fifties. It was a constant confusion to me why I never really felt ‘This is my patch. This is my home. I know these people. I can do what I like, because this is mine.’ It never was. I could never walk easily.”
And the article ends with Morrissey reminiscing about his time on the gay scene.
“If the Perry’s didn’t get you, then the beer monsters were waiting around the corner. I still remember studying the football results to see if City or United had lost, in order to judge the level of violence to be expected in the city centre that night. I can remember the worst night of my life with a friend of mine, James Maker, who is the lead singer in Raymonde now. We were heading for Devilles (a gay club). We began at the Thompson’s Arms (a gay pub), we left and walked around the corner where there was a car park, just past Chorlton Street Bus Station. Walking through the car park, I turned around and, suddenly, there was a gang of 30 beer monsters all in their late twenties, all creeping around us… The gay scene in Manchester was always atrocious. Do you remember Bernard’s Bar, now Stuffed Olives? If one wanted peace and to sit without being called a parade of names then that was the only hope... 1975 was the worst year in social history. I blame ‘Young Americans’ entirely. I hated that period – Disco Tex and the Sex-o-lettes, Limmy and Family Cooking. So when punk came along, I breathed a sigh of relief. I met people. I’d never done that before… I never liked The Ranch. I have a very early memory of it and it was very, very heavy. I never liked Dale Street. There was something about that area of Manchester that was too dangerous.”
Frank would throw in some homophobic language, ‘You big jessy, you big girl’s blouse, Morrissey. But he’s right. It was dangerous and, with the increased media visibility of punk, the violence got worse. You see, punks were not only faggots, they were uppity faggots as well‘, and an insinuation about cottaging that Morrissey found upsetting. In his 2013 autobiography he said,
“Because of the public-toilet disparagement, there are of course legal grounds to take action against Melody Maker, but Rough Trade are now making useful inroads with the press because of the Smiths, and they don’t want to cause a fuss, and I am still too green around the gills to ignore their reluctance. I could attempt to tackle Melody Maker myself, but without the label behind me, I am at sea.“
Most people – ignoring that Morrissey had more or less confirmed that he was openly gay, had said he didn’t feel at home because his family were immigrants, and was afraid of violence and the parade of insults he was subjected to – considered this article to be a major racism scandal – with Morrissey accused of thinking black people were conspiring against him, him disliking modern black music being equated with hating black people, and Frank’s wrong assertion that Panic was about hanging black Djs taken as fact.
Johnny Marr, who never strays from the safest of safe showbiz political opinions, was furious,
“next time we come across that creep, he’s plastered. We’re not in the habit of issuing personal threats, but that was such a vicious slur-job that we’ll kick the shit out of him. Violence is disgusting but racism’s worse and we don’t deal with it.”(NMW, February 1987)
Tony Fletcher, in his 2012 book about The Smiths, A Light That Never Goes Out, has nothing to say about the leading questions or the homophobia. In fact he seems to think Morrissey deserves the homophobia, putting Morrissey’s ‘no sex’ agenda in quotes, saying Frank dared suggest in writing that in years to come, Morrissey would be into “fisting and water sports”, accepting this explanation:
“Morrissey is the biggest closet gay queen on the planet and he felt that I was trying to ‘out’ him by bringing this up.
‘If he wanted to play coy, that was his prerogative, although with Thatcherite policies coming down increasingly hard on homosexuality, many other artists had decided to “come out” in response. As Len Brown wrote, “It was a time when everyone—artists and journalists—seemed to be asking the question (politically and sexually) ‘Whose Side Are You On?’ To which Morrissey insisted on being individual … a card-carrying member of nothing but his own cult of personality.”‘
He took out Morrissey’s meandering qualifications and made it sound as if Panic was about a detestation of black modern music so strong that he wasn’t ‘content to leave it there’ even though he was only replying to Frank.
Not content to leave it there, Morrissey went on to express how much he detested the “black modern music” of Motown descendants Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson, and Diana Ross, stating, per the lyrics to “Panic,” that “in essence this music doesn’t say anything whatsoever.”
He also ascribed Frank’s comments about NME and Melody Maker readers to ‘Morrissey’s thinking’, while accepting the racist assumption that Black music is about the body, pretending that British youth hadn’t danced before rave, took Morrissey’s joke about the law seriously and thought it was ridiculous that escapist music gets more airplay than morose Indie music – OF COURSE IT DOES!
Owen claimed to understand this thinking. “When NME and Melody Maker started putting black acts on the cover,” he recalled, “there was a huge backlash to it. I used to get letters all the time. And it wasn’t explicitly ‘We don’t want blacks on the cover,’ it was more like ‘This is our scene and what do blacks have to do with it?’ ” And so, in his Melody Maker feature, as a response to Morrissey’s own response, Owen tried to answer that question: “What it says can’t necessarily be verbalised easily,” he wrote. “It doesn’t seek to change the world like rock music by speaking grand truths about politics, sex and the human condition. It works at a much more subtle level—at the level of the body and the shared abandon of the dancefloor. It won’t change the world, but it’s been said it may well change the way you walk through the world.” Within a year or two, as acid house exploded (the kindling lit on the Haçienda dance floor) and the rave movement emerged in its wake, a large section of British youth would come to share Owen’s sentiment, the Smiths’ Johnny Marr and New Order’s Bernard Sumner among them. In the summer of 1986, though, Morrissey was still the voice of his generation, which was perhaps why he then dared issue the most ludicrous comment yet of a continually outspoken career: “Obviously to get on Top of the Pops these days, one has to be, by law, black,” which he followed up with an equally ridiculous claim of personal persecution.
He also thought it was suspect that Morrissey liked a sexist song that was released when he was seven years old.
Even the singer’s attempt to restore proceedings mid-interview sounded suspect. “My favourite record of all time is ‘Third Finger, Left Hand’ by Martha and the Vandellas,” he said, citing a (black) Motown single from 1966, “which can lift me from the most doom-laden depression.” And yet this was as stereotypically romantic, conventionally sexist, and thereby nonfeminist a song as had ever been written. It would have said nothing about Morrissey’s life when it came out, and said even less about his life and that of his fans twenty years later. He was in essence employing a double standard, based on what Owen correctly referred to as a “nostalgia … that afflicts the whole indie scene.”
And thought that Morrissey’s comments were a defence of ‘Panic’ rather than in response to Frank’s questions about Indie. Frank himself is blind to the racist assumptions that shaped the division of pop into Black and Indie and thinks that it’s Morrissey who caused the problem to ‘wind people up’.
As it turned out, Owen wasn’t particularly put out by Morrissey’s comments in defense of “Panic.” “I never thought Morrissey was a racist,” he said. “I always thought it was just a big put-on, that it was just a way to wind people up, the same way that punks wore swastikas.”
In 2018 music journalist Pete Paphides, gutted the interview to claim that Morrissey had ‘always’ been repugnant.
He accused Morrissey of ‘trolling’ for using the Attack reggae label in 2004 – nearly 18 years after this interview, and 12 years after the homophobic abuse Morrissey received at Finsbury Park was misrepresented as Morrissey waving the Union Jack in support of racist English nationalism.
Having failed to see that Morrissey talked about his own experiences of being from an immigrant family, that Frank was mainly trying to get Morrissey to talk about his sexuality and that Morrissey had said that black people had a history of oppression, Pete claims to have always kept the door ajar in case Morrissey’s views about race and identity were more nuanced.
but he can’t listen to most of Morrissey’s work because of what he was and continues to be.
Considering that some journalists have been entirely blind to their own prejudices while spending nearly 40 years scrutinizing every word Morrissey says for racism, crafting every distorted violation into a litany – the thing that Morrissey was and continues to be that bothers them so much is probably, ‘humasexual’, asocial and sardonic.
I remember who and what you used to be. You were like the village idiot, the odd one out, the backward boy. (Blitz, about Morrissey, April 1988)
The monstering of Morrissey is driven by homophobia, ableism, and Irish Catholic erasure. He doesn’t behave in a normative way. His train of thought isn’t running down the usual tracks. And that’s intolerable.
They parse his words for violations, conflate them, and turn them into a narrative that paints him as a feral bigot who once tricked them into believing he was gentle and kind.
They pretend they liked his difference, while his press cuttings are littered with their angst about his ‘ambivalence’, the uncanny no man’s land he dwelled in between male and female, gay and straight, Irish and English, Catholic and atheist, sane and mad, provincial and national, public and private, frank and coy, animal and human, rich and poor, happy and sad, kind and scathing, alive and dead, innocent and guilty.
How horribly wrong we were. From the mid-1980s onwards, his utterances have been consistently rabid... It’s always hard to admit you fell for the wrong fella, that his poetry blinded you to his prejudices, that you were well and truly suckered. And that’s what we’re having to do now... For so long we Morrissey fans gave him the benefit of the doubt – surely a man is entitled to not like reggae and soul music, we’d squirm. Even now, we like to believe it is simply Morrissey who has changed. And that is true to an extent. But the warning signs were always there.(The Guardian, June, 2018)
To be a national treasure you have to be likable. Is Morrissey likable any more? I’m almost loth to say that he isn’t, because to do so would be to play into the persecution complex he has been nurturing for the best part of his solo career. Even when he makes pronouncements that, broadly speaking, I agree with, there’s something about the way he makes them that makes me recoil. (The Guardian, March, 2012)
I’ve got vintage psychedelic vinyl by actual murderers, and books of poetry by antisemites and paedophiles, who are hard to write out of literary history. And the increasingly reactionary comments made by Mark E Smith in his latter years will not tempt me to part with even the most unnecessary Fall compilation. But somehow, illogically and sentimentally, I held Morrissey to different standards… Suddenly, I just didn’t want Morrissey in my home any more. And I couldn’t imagine any circumstances under which I would ever listen to him again. (Stewart Lee, The Guardian, July 2018)
He knows his diehards will continue to buy his records and sell out his shows, so he gleefully goes on — sorry, Morrissey has never done anything gleefully. He stodgily goes on, sowing discord and making deliberately inflammatory statements. (Boston Herald, December 2017)
The purity of The Smiths has to severed from the pollution of Morrissey.
‘The Smiths? There’s more blackness in the music than you might initially perceive. Read about it. Search it out. And then boycott Morrissey’s music because he’s turned into your horrible racist grandfather. Seriously, stop apologising for the guy and stop listening to his recent music. He’s an embarrassment. (Tony Fletcher, 2020)
I wish there was a way back for him. As a Smith’s fan and as an anti-racist activist, I wish. I worry that he may have burned too many bridges, though. I think he’s decided that he wants to betray everything he ever said in the Smiths, and he’s broken the hearts of a lot of people… I’ll listen to The Smiths, but I was never into [his solo stuff] anyway.” (Billy Bragg, NME, February, 2020)
Ultimately, you can’t help feeling that not only did Morrissey need Johnny Marr to achieve greatness, but the guitarist was also a restraining and civilising influence on his songwriting partner. (Medium, 2019)
The Mexican POC members of Morrissey’s current band and their Latin American sound are whitewashed, in an article that flags up that the writer is in a heterosexual relationship. His boss is casual about some slurs – ‘there would be some people back home who would call me a puff or whatever for stopping… Are you some kind of shirt lifter?” (John Doran, Drowned In Sound, June 2016)
My girlfriend however, well she’s a huge fan. A quick Google search later and there’s some sputtering…. how could the man who saved the lonely girl from Hull have become this... From its cheap-sounding production to the trebly, shallow musicianship (read: white-ish), to the basic structuring and the crowd samples that sound like fiendish Leave activists at Westminster, to the aesthetically stinking addition of those medieval trumpets of old Albion, this is the crappy Britain of old he conjures. (John Calvert, The Quietus, March 2020)
My guitarist Jesse, who’s been with me for 10 years, is Mexican. One night in Los Angeles the police approached us, spoke reasonably civilly to me, and then said to him, ‘which restaurant do you work at?’ I think that sums it up! One of the greatest guitarists of the modern age, but because his skin is brown, it’s assumed he washes dishes for a living.’ (Morrissey, 2014)
Once he was unpersoned, his looks, age, sexuality, gender identity, clothes, social isolation, & mental health struggles became fair game.
Morrissey isn’t senile, he’s always been a racist. (Mangal Media/Freedom Magazine, August 2019).
… his allegiances can no longer be assumed to lie with the marginalised. Perhaps they never could, and the real shock is not one of Morrissey’s betrayal but of our own (my own) self-deception… One of us has to grow up, I suppose, but that still doesn’t mean I know what to do about monsters either. (Ben Brooker, Overland Review, November 2017)
Then there’s their Irishness and the punk moment. Shane was immensely inspired by John Lydon. The Irish thing cannot be overlooked, as they were crucial to English pop music. John Lennon, Billy Fury, if we can still mention his name, Morrissey. There’s a great deal of Irish presence in English music. What’s different about MacGowan is that he made a real point of being Irish. (Julian Temple, Flood Magazine, December 2020)
He’s worse than anyone.
Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Joy Division, Lemmy, Siouxie Sioux… bit of Nazi trouble.
Only right-wingers objected to Marilyn Manson… ‘I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.’ (Spin, 2009) … nobody even batted an eyelash at these overt admissions of violence.… (Glamour, March 2018)
The lyrics in The Classical – by The Fall – which are clearly not racist…
Where are the obligatory n*ggers? Hey there fuckface!
POC writers who could or do work for The Quietusagreed with its boss that it would be mad to think it was racist – Gabriel Ebulue said: I feel that as a black man liking music made mainly by white people it means I will have to wince every now and then at lyrics… not to mention whatever Morrissey says… ever.
They’ve come up with a myth that goes (almost literally) like this:
Once Upon A Time in the 1970s he was a skinhead punk and he said he didn’t like Pakistanis. No ambiguity there, Sunshine. He joined The Smiths, stole his lyrics from Shelagh Delaney, demanded black people be hanged, sapped the will of reggae-loving Indie kids with miserable, reactionary, white nostalgia, and when Decent Bloke Johnny Marr could take no more, Moz joined Skrewdriver, and organised Combat 18 behind a veneer of irony and animal rights activism, until Emboldened by Brexit, he came out as a neo-nazi by showing his third nipple and saying Diane Abbott wouldn’t get a job in Tesco. He’s symbolic of everything evil in the English Working-Class that threatens to drag England back from Bright Thrusting Imperial Modernity to ethnic peasantry, like the poor people one signs petitions for.
“as a child of immigrant parents, he should know better than to attack immigration. For his waving of the flag (for publicity too, it would seem), for his ingrained habit of paying lip service to anti-racism while talking like an old Tory immigration spokesman, and for his abandonment of everything that made The Smiths a band for outsiders, Morrissey should be ashamed of himself, but he won’t be” (David Quantick, The Word, 2007)
In the September 1992 issue of Q Magazine, Morrissey was asked by Adrian Deevoy:
Do you think people are innately racist?
And he replied:
Yes. I don’t want to sound horrible or pessimistic but I don’t really think, for instance, black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other. I don’t really think they ever will. The French will never like the English. The English will never like the French. That tunnel will collapse.
This turned into a racism scandal, and is still cited in evidence against him.
But why would he be optimistic, even in a hyperbolic answer that ends in a joke, in 1992 when LA had experienced intense race riots in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers who were caught on camera beating up a black man for a traffic violation…
There was nothing in 1992 to indicate that groups would one day get on with each other.
In March 1993, in the NME, Steve Sutherland, discussed Morrissey with David Bowie and Brett Anderson.
NME: OK, so we all agree that Brett has the right to be ambivalent about his sexuality in his songs and we agree with David that a person has the right to be ambivalent with his or her own personal sexuality, but doesn’t that also apply across the board? For instance, David, you’ve covered Morrissey’s ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday‘ on your new album. I don’t know if you’re aware that he’s been ostracized recently for his ambivalent use of the Union Jack at his concerts. It has been decided that Morrissey does not have the right to be ambivalent about race and that he should make a statement regarding whether he is or is not a racist. Are we not beating him with the same stick?
Brett: “No. The difference is, the way I speak about things is in a positive way and I think the way he’s speaking about certain issues of racism is an intentionally negative way. Therefore, I think we need to know the reasons behind it.”
Bowie: “I have to be careful here because I’m not quite sure what he said. But what I believe he said is that blacks and whites will never get on. I think that’s the general tone of it. So I guess the adult approach is to say. OK, let’s take his question and figure out for ourselves our own answer to that. Will they get on? Won’t they get on? And why? He is just posing a question so there is an argument that it’s perfectly OK for him to just pose that question. “He’s not giving us facts either way or giving us his feelings on the matter. Surely it would only be really negative if he were to say blacks and whites will never get on because it’s obvious that one is superior to the other.”
NME: I think his silence is more sinister than that. I’m suspicious of his motives. He’s never, to my knowledge, committed one altruistic act in his life so I don’t know why he should start now.
Brett: “He’s said other things in the past about how reggae is vile and hang the DJ and other things with all these connotations but, the thing is, he might actually be one of the most generous people that’s ever lived. I don’t know if it’s true but, by making himself a target, he might actually be trying to mend some gaps and build some bridges. I mean, he must know that he’s making himself a target because he’s not stupid and, by having criticism directed towards him, he might actually be doing some good. It might just be possible that he’s thinking that.”
NME: Oh come on! He’s just luxuriating in playing the misunderstood, the martyr, and damn the consequences.
Bowie: “I mist say I found him charming the couple of times I met him. When he heard my version of ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen’ (which, according to Brett, is “very 50s, very Johnny Ray”), it brought a tear to his eye and he said, ‘Oooh, it’s so-o-o grand!’ ”
NME: I’ve been suspicious of him from the start. All those bedsit anthems about wallowing in misery didn’t seem to be helping anybody achieve anything. He was just making himself an icon on the back of other people’s inadequacies and I don’t find that in any way admirable.
Bowie: “Tell that to Samuel Beckett. Or John Osbourne.”
So Steve and Brett decided Morrissey had no right to speak because he was negative, sinister and ambivalent – although Morrissey has never been ambivalent about racism, he’s made it clear he thinks it’s wrong, he’s ambivalent about human nature, and is from an Irish Catholic community that experienced colonial oppression and discrimination, while Ireland was still in the midst of a paramilitary civil war.
Also damaging/demeaning stereotypes can still be reinforced by ‘positive’ things – the charitable and cheerful ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, reduced the entire continent of Africa into a starving desert that only needed the West to bung it some cash.
On August 8th 1992 Morrissey played at Finsbury Park with headliners Madness. He’d worked with band members, Suggs and Cathal Smyth, and also with their producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.
During his set the crowd shouted homophobic insults & threw coins & bottles.
Increasing angry he thrashed a Union Jack about the stage & was so incensed or distressed by the ‘loathsome yobbos’ that he refused to play the 2nd day of the two day booking.
Nowadays he could phone the police & they would investigate it as a hate crime.
Back then he was denounced as a drama queen, who had blown it with his imagery & let his fans down.
The NME implied he was a racist & a fascist.
Cornershop burned his picture outside EMI.
The press dismissed violent homophobia to denounce Morrissey for his art & for refusing to explain himself to the press who had dismissed violent homophobia.
Morrissey has always said that he was attracted to men and women, and talked about transexuality and gender. In 1991 he’d toured with lesbian singer, Phranc. It’s likely that at least some of the audience had been targeting what they thought they knew about his sexuality.
Years later the NME plunged him into yet another race row because he thought Knightsbridge – the most expensive street in London – had lost its local character.
28 years later The Guardian asked if he was showing his true colours.
Love Music Hate Racism used it to say he has a long history of supporting Far Right organisations – his only other ‘support’ being a comment that The BNP should be allowed to speak (Morrissey is from an Irish Catholic family, he supported a United Ireland & between 1988 & 1994 Sinn Fein’s politicians had their voices banned on UK television) – which also turned into a race row.
Former friends eager to cast him out as a tax exile (foreign now, nothing to do with them) have never said a word about it:
& if you read Morrissey’s press there are numerous examples of low key homophobic or transphobic jokes.
For example, David Quantick, who created 2019’s #Moztits Twitter hashtag (attacking him for having a feminine/fat body), described him in 1997 as ‘Mozz Flanders in a dank cellette’. Or ‘Dorrissey’ the Morrissey parody in the 1980s video game ‘Rock Star Ate My Hamster’.
Which might be why the homophobia has been entirely written out of the story.
“Animal welfare groups cannot persist simply in order to continue to persist. There must be a governmental voice against the hellish and archaic social injustice allotted to animals in the United Kingdom simply because those animals do not speak English, otherwise millions of very caring citizens are greatly concerned about issues that no one is able to do anything about.
What animal protectionists need to say is very well worth saying and well worth hearing. But we cannot just sit around waiting for establishment enlightenment. The sanctimonious disaster of animal agriculture cannot be allowed to go on forever, because its widespread impact is hellish. Animals in dairy farms and abattoirs are very eager not to die, yet their bodies are torn apart while still alive as they are strapped beneath a blade. No outcome can justify this, and we cannot be happy with a society that allows it to happen, because such a society without compassion goes nowhere.
The abattoir is the modern continuation of the Nazi concentration camp, and if you are a part of the milk-drinking population, then you condone systems of torture. There is no such thing as humane slaughter, and if you believe that there is, then why not experience it for yourself? If animal serial killer Jamie Oliver feels so passionate about including ‘kid meat’ (young goat) into the human diet, would he consider putting forth one of his own kids (children) for general consumption? If not, why not? What makes such people have absolutely no forgiveness towards animals? What hate drives them? The meat industry, after all, shows no compassion towards the planet, towards climate change, towards animals, towards human health. It is diabolically contrived and is the world’s No 1 problem. It is also the No 1 issue stifled from any political debate, which, if anything, highlights its importance.
The slaughterhouse effectively means that none of us are safe. Just investigate the appalling effects of meat production on our climate, environment, fields, forests, lakes, streams, seas, air and space. Your eyes will pop. No bigger global disaster could possibly be devised. Social justice for animals is not much to demand, because we are only asking humans to think rationally and with heart, even if being unable to hunt foxes and shoot birds would leave the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family with nothing else to do.”
In June 2019 Central posted a dubious video that compared rapper Stormzy’s positive media coverage (he wore a Union Jack police vest) with Moz’s negative media coverage (he was condemned for holding a Union Jack in 1992).
Central’s social media manager seems to be Morrissey’s nephew Sam Esty Rayner, who as far as anyone can tell will post absolutely anything.
Billy Bragg, outraged by the video, managed to obsessively refresh Google hoping to see Morrissey denounced AND Google the Animal Welfare Party, who he was convinced would benefit from Moz’s support, without discovering that Moz HAD supported them.
Clearly the Animal Welfare Party did not benefit from Moz’s support since Billy can’t remember a thing about it. And his For Britain support might have been just as obscure if his detractors hadn’t decided to have a meltdown about it.
Billy denounced Moz for abandoning outsiders while trying to make him an arts establishment pariah.
He made low digs at Morrissey’s talent (he stole his best line from a Taste of Honey) & sexuality (it’s a film that featured homosexuality) while concern trolling fans of The Smiths & attacking his best friend’s legacy (he’s heartbroken – presumably because Moz is so degenerate no one can listen to Smiths songs).
And he compared him to Oswald Mosley, an anti-semitic fascist.
Which is ironic considering Billy told Jewish people that they had work to do to rebuild trust with the Labour party & that they’d overstepped the mark by complaining that Jeremy Corbyn – then leader of the Labour Party – who Billy was actively campaigning for – was an anti-semite.
In 2017 Moz persuaded his bandmate Mando Lopez to post a Facebook comment for him on the French Leadership debate between Marine Le Pen & Emmanuel Macron.
He was immediately called a racist & tried again:
& got denounced as a racist again:
It’s moot whether Marine or Macron ‘won’ – but it’s true that news outlets, esp ones not covered by any kind of regulatory obligation to provide balance use loaded language to signal whether something is acceptable or not.
CNN can be openly partisan in favour of corporate liberalism, but vicious wars are being waged over perceived bias in the BBC. When a debate is extremely polarised it’s difficult to find a balance that will please either side.
So why was Morrissey bothered by commentary about a politician he couldn’t & wouldn’t vote for (Marine’s pro-hunting apart from anything else)?
Probably because he was thinking of his political mission to ban abattoirs.
Animal rights activists are routinely dismissed in the press as either violent extremists or irrelevant loons & he’s up against the world’s meat industry.
“Have people evolved in any way during your lifetime? Meaning the human race, generally? Well, because of food enlightenment, yes – it’s clear to everyone how the dairy industry is a bigger threat to the planet that the nuclear arms race. People are sick of animal slaughter. My final aim is to abolish the abattoir, and although I haven’t ever once voted in a general election, my vote awaits any party intelligent enough to ban the slaughterhouse. Only at that point would the world begin to grow up.” (December, 2017)
Since taking over The National Front in 2011, Marine Le Pen has rebranded them as The National Rally & has shifted most of their policies to the left, hoping to become a more respectable nationalist party along the lines of the Scottish Nationalist Party whose fascist links are almost completely forgotten.
During the debate her most controversial statement was a baseless jibe about Macron having an offshore bank account. And the French hard left saw both candidates as equally undesirable.
With very little to go on the press & therefore the public fell back on labels; Le Pen was far right & aggressive (she doesn’t come across as aggressive when compared to Anglophone politicians), Macron was a rational centrist…
As Morrissey is a militant animal liberationist with an extreme abolitionist stance – this was a very bad sign.
In August 2015 Morrissey was interviewed by Alternative Nation & Larry King.
As well as talking about his depression and animals, he was concerned about police brutality against Black people & wondered why Obama wasn’t doing more to help.
“Obama has mystified me because he doesn’t appear to support black people when they need it most… Ferguson being an obvious example. If Michael Brown had instead been one of Obama’s daughters, I don’t think Obama would be insisting that the nation support the so-called security forces! How can they be called security forces if they make the people feel insecure? Obama seems to be white inside. There is an obvious racial division in America and it’s exploding and Obama doesn’t ever support the innocent black people who are murdered by white police officers who are never held accountable. You would expect him to be more understanding of what it means to be black. But so far, he hasn’t been. There’s no point in continually saying that we must support the police when it is obvious to the entire world that the police in America are out of control.”
This being Morrissey, the press ignored the bit about innocent black people being murdered & went for the bit about Obama being white inside.
“I can’t see [Obama] doing anything at all for the black community… “ “…except warning them that they must respect the security forces. This is ludicrous because the so-called security forces are the Ku Klux Klan to most black Americans. It seems evident to me that black males are being deliberately murdered throughout America as a closing message to Obama, telling him that his presidency has meant nothing and that the division of color is now bigger than ever. Obama doesn’t see this, but if a white cop shot one of his daughters I don’t imagine he’d be willing to accept the exoneration of that white cop.”
“I am wryly amused by all of these tough cop reality programs on American TV…” “…because it’s always white cops arresting the black or Hispanic poor, yet you don’t ever see the cops frisking a crooked lawyer or chasing a middle-class accountant who’s robbed millions from clients. It’s always the extreme poor who are targeted by the cops because the poor have no influential friends and therefore can’t retaliate, and the cops know that they can play about with poor people.”
“[Obama] doesn’t look overly African black.” “He’s as close to soft whiteness as someone who isn’t white could get, and I often wonder if he would have been elected if he had a stronger, more African-black face? It’s a point.”
Hillary Clinton “has no competition” in the Democratic race. “I think she shows an earnest composure, whereas all of the Republican candidates are dangerously reactionary and occasionally insane. I don’t think Clinton has even begun to dig into the race yet, and when she does she will gain massive support. The world does not want to look at Donald Trump’s face for the years to come.”
“British politics will never again trust a woman because of [Margaret] Thatcher.” “And, in actual fact, it hasn’t.”
Salon interpreted this as taking another swipe at Obama’s race…
In America The land of the Free, they said And of Opportunity In a just and a truthful way But where the President Is never black, female or gay And until that day You’ve got nothing to say to me To help me believe In America