After the NME’s 2007 rehash of the 1992 homophobic hit piece, the press drive to defame him became acute, with a never ending series of scandals hyped up from sundry words, phrases, incidents & accidents. Ignoring his obvious ill health & the strong medication he said he was prescribed, some commentators decided he was an erratic, lying, crank.
[I] had a very bad time, I had internal bleeding and was rushed into hospital, and I lost a lot of blood and they tried to patch me together, over the following five weeks, but it didn’t quite work, and I was on a lot of IV drips for almost five weeks, and each time it seemed as though I was back to robust health I would decline. So this is what happened, I’m afraid with the festival this week I saw the doctors and they said, “no no no no, you cannot” because I had lost so much blood and I had became anemic, but I’m still receiving ongoing treatment and I’m very optimistic now. (Morrissey, Mexico City Reactor Radio, 19 March 2013) http://www.cristinarocks.com/2013/03/morrissey-mexico-city-interview.html?m=1
In December a rider for a gig in Croatia led to a long-running saga involving cheese wheels.
2006 and 2015 saw leaked email scandals.
In 2016 there was a palaver over Supreme t-shirts. Morrissey modelled for them but didn’t like the way he looked, didn’t like looking at himself all over town, thought it was linked to a meat company, and couldn’t use a photo he preferred because his nephew put it on Instagram.
Morrissey has always linked his depression to seeing footage of animals slaughtered & admits vegetarianism/veganism can be hard.
I became vegetarian first when I was very young when I caught sight of a programme on the television showing slaughter and I’d never seen it before, the abattoir, the slaughterhouse. I was frozen for five years. I couldn’t believe that in our society such places exist. Even now I can’t believe such places exist. It baffles me, I can’t understand it. Nobody’s that hungry that you need to take a life of something that also wants to live. It’s a gradual thing. Everybody begins as vegetarian because to dive straight forward into being a complete purist is very hard for most people. Financially you can’t do it and also you have to find food, but once you do it it’s so much better. [Takes off Stella McCartney shoe] There’s no animals involved in this shoe but from a distance you’d think it was an animal shoe. It’s not made of leather, it’s plastic. Would I really lie about this? Is this the place to lie about shoes? (Morrissey, Larry King Now, 19 August 2015)
Despite that, he’s always been attacked for it.
It’s hard to imagine Morrissey poking fun at himself, but here’s the same self-righteous lettucehead of Meat is Murder singing a song called Bigmouth Strikes Again. (Mark Coleman, Rolling Stone, 11 September 1986)
30 March 1985: Following the Morrissey interview (Trial By Jury) featured in the Melody Maker on 16 March, there was a strong reaction against the singer in the letters column. “Will MM give us a break from Mr Righteous God Almighty Morrissey?”… “Morrissey you ain’t seen anything if the Lunatic Animal Libbers kill any of my kids”… “MM could solve most of Morrissey’s problems by arranging a confrontation with a full-grown lion, a Bengal tiger, an alligator, or some other carnivores to see if his platitudes can influence their diet!” (Johnny Rogan, the Smiths, Omnibus Press, 1994)
And the press even managed to use it in their quest to brand him a gay predator/racist.
The holier-than-thou aspect of Morrissey’s public profile has naturally tempted journalists to try and bring him down… Some have unsuccessfully tried to brand him a racist… The other line has been to probe for a story on the man’s sexuality, taking their cue from the camp artwork on Smiths record sleeves… (Stuart Bailie, Record Mirror, 14 February 1987)
With his last album called Years of Refusal, Morrissey is nothing if not defiant, and I suspect that his unattractive response to being challenged over race in the past is to grow ever-more certain of his own righteousness and then court fresh controversy in order to confirm to himself that he is being persecuted. What the world thinks – and the feelings of others – are nothing compared to the importance of being Morrissey. (Tom Clark, the Guardian, September 2010) https://www.theguardian.com/global/2010/sep/03/morrissey-race-taboos-tom-clark
His outsiderdom is a function of his misanthropy. And his vegetarianism is the expedient by which he justifies that misanthropy. (Peter Paphides, the Guardian, 10 March 2012)
British rocker Morrissey forced Madison Square Garden to ban meat and fish when he gave a concert there last year. “There is no difference between eating animals and pedophilia,” he’s said, and once actually likened the use of animals for food to the Holocaust. His self-righteousness inflames Yvette d’Entremont, an LA-based analytical chemist who debunks many nutritional myths — especially those which claim just about every food to be dangerous… (Steve Cuzzo, New York Post, 18 May 2016)
Yet even that song’s (brilliant) sad-bastard rallying cry—“I am human and I need to be loved / just like everybody else does”—sounds like an understatement in comparison to “Meat Is Murder”’s sanctimonious refrain: “It’s death for no reason / and death for no reason is murder.” (Erik Adams, AV Club, 28 January 2015)
…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 (Morrissey, Tremr, 5 June 2018)
Neil Gaiman took the opportunity to suck up to the television industry as if he’d be thrilled by an episode that condemned him for potentially murdering the people of Skye because he was too dim to read the Covid rules:
Not that they would target Neil with anything that would hurt or exclude him, because whatever his personal issues, he does marketing, networking, online engagement, works with a vast number of people & might be able to shaft your career. Things Morrissey can’t do, due to shyness, anxiety, depression, dysmorphia, and/or clear-eyed horror at its fakeness.
The show probably took its character arc from a hit piece in The LA Times, based on hit pieces in the British press. There’s an accumulating list of misquotes and misinterpretations and every article will pick at least three, along with UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN labels like xenophobe, racist, far right, right-wing, British nationalist, British nativist, controversial, reactionary, toxic, anti-immigrant, hard to love, dead to me, or HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED.
Nearly everything about him gets edited out & the rest is conflated, hyped & chanted.
For a start, he is an immigrant, not to the USA, but to England:
… 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. (Morrissey, November 1999, Irish Times)
His current band, that no one ever talks about because they’re too busy pining for the all-white one, has immigrants & people of colour:
HP:I remember seeing you in a Chivas USA shirt. You have a strong association with Mexico. How do you think their people are treated in America? Morrissey: Oh, like kings! No, sorry, that was a joke. 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. He will one day, of course… (Morrissey, August 2014, Hot Press)
He’s mentioned immigration in general only a few times in his career, and he’s never attacked people, or demanded that immigration be lowered, stopped or reversed. What he frets about is the tensions inherent in identity. Who we are, why we are, can we kick against it, can we get along? Always on the side of the less powerful, although in his eagerness to attack government policy, he can forget the social norm of expressing pity for its victims while doing absolutely nothing genuinely helpful. He laments that culture is becoming generic esp in music. And he rails against tyranny and injustice; we need structure to make our lives function, but it can also oppress and brutalise us:
With all my heart I urge people to vote against George Bush. Jon Stewart would be ideal, but John Kerry is the logical and sane move. It does not need to be said yet again, but Bush has single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet. For non-Americans, the United States is suddenly not a very nice place to visit because US immigration officers – under the rules of Bush – now conduct themselves with all the charm and unanswerable indignation of Hitler’s SS. Please bring sanity and intelligence back to the United States. Don’t forget to vote. Vote for John Kerry and get rid of George Bush! (Morrissey, True to You, 28th? October 2004)
The infantile panic with which American immigration officials shout loudly and humiliate gleefully is designed to exert strength, yet it trumpets cowardice and it fouls notions of patriotism… The US government proudly boasted Zero Tolerance and implemented the scheme with zero intelligence. (Morrissey, 2013, Autobiography)
But his overwhelming concern is the meat industry:
The fact that the slaughterhouse or abattoir exists is the most obvious example of human evil. 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…
He has always felt his opposition to the meat industry is opposed by power:
… 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. (Morrissey, June 2015, The Huffington Post)
And he clearly believed fringe crank, Anne Marie Waters, founder of For Britain, when she said she was being smeared as a racist and a fascist because she was talking about sensitive issues to do with veganism, secularism, animal rights, feminism, and gay rights. And that somehow she would stop the violence and polarization that was driving politics in the 2010s as social media funneled us into warring silos:
I despise racism. I despise fascism. I would do anything for my Muslim friends, and I know they would do anything for me. (Morrissey, April 2018, Central)
Yes, he could have been more savvy, she is entirely a product of polarisation, but she’s essentially an unelectable YouTuber. At the time of writing (April 2021) he last mentioned her two years ago in April 2019, and he first and last wore the badge of her ‘party’ (which he apparently didn’t join or vote for) in May 2019.
The timing of the show was cynical.
The Simpsons had been called out for using racial stereotypes and discriminatory casting.
And for some grotesque reason a high profile television show decided to improve its image by taking pains – stars, songs, extras – to punch down at a low profile Indie singer. Which would have made a better plot.
To cap it The Sunday Times editorial, 25th April 2021, made it clear we hate it when our stars don’t give exclusive interviews:
On the 3rd September 2010 The Guardian published an interview with Morrissey by Simon Armitage in which Morrissey made an ill-advised but figurative barb at China to convey his incredulity at their inhumane treatment of animals:
“Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.”
He was accused of genocidal racism and, not grasping that he was being accused of genocidal racism, he tried again to explain that China is very cruel to animals:
If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade – animals skinned alive – then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible. (Morrissey, The Guardian, September 2010)
In a June 2018 interview with Fiona Dodwell – mostly about animals and music – 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 freedom of speech and the law – Robinson had recently been jailed for larping as a journalist and live streaming outside a child abuse trial that had a court order banning reporting.
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 (Nigel Farage is a capitalist, George Galloway is a socialist, both wanted out of the neoliberal European Union) – 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?
But Sadiq Khan had praised chicken shops at an awards ceremony, calling halal chicken a beautiful thing.
Chicken Cottage is a British product that is doing a fantastic amount in our country…over the last period Chicken Cottage has created 1,000 new jobs in our country, added £50m to the UK’s GDD and over the next five years will be creating 400 new jobs as well… And here’s the beautiful thing. This is a British product…selling Islamic products, selling halal products…that is niche and general but it’s gone mainstream… When Chicken Cottage started in 1994, the aim was to be as excellent, or as good as, the market leaders…now, the aim is to be the best in its own right, and now the market leaders are Chicken Cottage… long may you have a prosperous future! (Sadiq Khan, Chicken Cottage Award Ceremony, 2012)
It’s the meat eating that Morrissey is objecting to.
After the Guardian calls him racist he becomes preoccupied with the idea that religion and tradition can veto animal welfare. And anyone who objects is called a racist.
Animals rights (sic) must come before religion. Religion must cease to be the ONLY word. I am not interested in what people did ten thousand years ago. I am concerned about what is happening today. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, April 2018)
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 as 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 Muslim men sexually exploiting white girls, that some of the men were bigoted, and that 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, while Tommy cheerfully latches on to anything that causes racial strife – from ‘reporting’ Asian grooming gangs to ‘supporting’ Muslim parents protesting against LGBT+ teaching materials in primary schools.
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.’
Ex-fan Stewart Lee, in his Guardian column, decided that mentioning Tommy Robinson meant – 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 in Bengali In Platforms, and that he was saying England should be for the English in National Front Disco. Which had nothing to do with what Morrissey was actually trying to say and everything to do with the homophobic Finsbury Park myth.
Morrissey dropped Anne Marie Waters in May 2019, and has never mentioned Robinson before or since. Though the media still relentlessly links him to both.
Side Note: In April 2018, via Morrissey 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 Islamic 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.
This isn’t one of Morrissey’s scandals because Douglas is an old Etonian, published in mainstream newspapers and magazines and by Bloomsbury, who appears on mainstream television and has enough connections to dent a journalist’s career, unlike Morrissey, who has none.
“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.”
Despite that, Billy Bragg, managed to Google the Animal Welfare Party without discovering that Morrissey had supported them.
And without Morrissey’s detractors his brief interest in For Britain would have been equally obscure.
Side Note: hatred of Morrissey always includes comparing him to the worst people – seiral killers, dictators, child molestors and declaring that his solo music is taboo because of repellant views that exist almost entirely in their fevered imaginations.
Billy Bragg on Morrissey: He’s become the Oswald Mosley of pop. Bragg says that the singer is “betraying” Smiths fans with his controversial views (Sam Moore, NME, 30 May 2019)
So, Morrissey is not a dog on a chain. But then what, exactly, is he? Is this the new Morrissey? Music to match the uncompromising, ugly attitude he now wears in public with pride? Large swathes of fans have been put off in recent years by the continued, relentless, troubling outbursts and – more worryingly – some of his deeply held views. Whether fans can dissociate the man from the music has become the most pressing matter surrounding his work – for disavowed followers, it will now forever be shackled to Morrissey’s most repellent opinions. (Jake Cudsi, the Independent, 20 March 2020)
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.
Rob: Have people evolved in any way during your lifetime? Morrissey: 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.” (Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 8 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.