Betrayed: Idiot Fans and Conned Collaborators

From the very beginning of Morrissey’s career, homophobic journalists tried to get his fans and colleagues to ditch him.

In 1983, Garry Bushell, in his Jaws column, uged the BBC and Rough Trade to dump the Smiths because of their “sicko songs

The Beeb have finally rumbled the unpleasant truth behind ‘hip’ Manchester band, The Smiths… whose repulsive repertoire includes perverted paens to child moslesting… To the anger and embarrassment of many Sounds staffers, the band’s songs were first brought to the world’s attention, and in fact praised, by David McCullough, who described them as ‘the kind of ultra violent grime rock n roll needs’. Try telling that to the mother of the six year old Brighton boy recently mob raped by paedophiles… Rough Trade should ban Smiths’ records… Beeb bosses should keep this perverted filth off the air. (Jaws, Sounds, 10 September 1983)

Later, his homophobia was more explicit.

Garry Bushell is a member of Mensa — an organisation for people who declare themselves to have above-average IQs. In Mensa’s latest journal he says that homosexuality is a “sad, dead-end perversion” and that people working in TV are promoted “solely because of their sexual preference”. (Media Watch  Gay Times, February 1992)

Sometimes, journalists cloaked it in concern that Morrissey was exploiting his fans by ‘pretending’ to be vulnerable.

Ah, Morrissey. Clever, clever, shrewd Morrissey. Cunning, manipulative, exploitive, smug, irresponsible, Morrissey. This letter [Backlash letters page] makes me sicker than he could ever pretend to be. It’s so hopeless and passive and give up the ghost. Which means the orgy of duping, the career structure of the con-man rock star goes on. When twits like Mr S [a “fan”] top themselves, will you be there in the nick of time, Stephen [Morrissey] after a few quick changes of mannerisms in a handy phone booth? And if you’re so weak and timid, how come you’ve never had the slightest reluctance to show off? (Chris Roberts, Melody Maker, 26 March 1988)

Sometimes it was pure abuse:

Your hero [Morrissey] is in the twilight of his creativity… The public can see right through Old Flowery Twat. (Dele Fadele, NME, 19 May 1990)

In 1990, Steve Sutherland, decided that Morrissey was a threat to children because he looked gay in the International Playboys video.

The faint hint of homoeroticism around “The Last of the International Playboys”… opens a whole different can of worms. Is the tee shirt thing a sick joke – the celebrated celibate getting his kicks sticking to the sweaty skin of every boy and girl in the hall? From “Playboy”, with Mozzer like a stripper constantly tugging at his neckline and threatening to expose a nipple… [to] barely able to sing “Sister I’m a Poet” for the boys invading the stage and embracing him… (Steve Sutherland, Melody Maker, 26 May 1990)

In the next edition, fans were encouraged to throw darts at the homoerotic nipple.

I’m talking about Morrissey fans… You’d scarcely credit there being any left in the early nineties, especially, when thank the Lord, you can be inoculated against everything… anyone who is still devoted to a camp, ageing parody of a would-be icon like Morrissey, deserves nothing more than a kick in the pants. These people are sick in the head… We’ve set up a poster of Morrissey and we encourage them to throw darts at his face and his exposed nipples… We’re hoping to raise enough to hire a hitman, so that we can really get to the heart of the problem… (“Thora Hird“, NME, 2 June 1990)

In 1992 – building on the fallout from Frank Owen’s racist interpretation of the ‘Hip Hop Wars’ that saw Morrissey accused of racism for trying to answer his loaded questions – the NME accused Morrissey of inciting a homophobic hate attack against himself, at a Finsbury Park gig, by touching a Union Jack (for less than 3 minutes). They split his career into The Smiths (acceptable asexual) and solo (toxic homoerotic). And tried to bury him.

They’re cringing in the corner when the guy in open-toe sandals and the Morrissey T-shirt comes rushing over. “THEY WERE UNF-INGBELIEVABLE! DID YOU HEAR ME? AFTER THE FIRST SONG, I SCREAMED BRETT WILL YOU MARRY ME?’ I’M SORRY BUT I DID!” He’s hysterical. “THEY TRAMPLED ALL OVER THE CORPSE OF MORRISSEY PUT THAT IN THE NME!” (Steve Sutherland, NME, 26 June 1993)

… excised from the hearts of many, horrified by the messy “flirtation” with racist imagery… the fact that this…man generates any interest at all this far down the line of lackluster albums and gallingly ambiguous behaviour is a mystery… Morrissey is an adoration junkie, plain and simple… his devoted audience has no such excuse… Times are hard, and yes, you’re going to need someone on your side. But at this point in the century, it really shouldn’t be this man. (Victoria Segal, the NME, November 1999)

… he has been tainted with accusations of nationalism and racism since he wrapped the Union Jack around himself at a Finsbury Park gig in 1992. Two weeks ago, the NME listed his crimes in anticipation of his British tour this week, and advised its readers to “brick” the singer offstage… Once the initial shock of Morrissey’s professed celibacy had abated, he was subject to… nasty innuendo and speculation about his sexuality… Despite all the evidence to the contrary the bittersweet eulogies to Handsome Devils and Sweet and Tender Hooligans, the iconoclastic images of male beauty that fill his record sleeves, the huge backdrops of skinhead boys [actually, girls] at his ill-fated gig in Finsbury Park in London, and quite apart from his slightly camp persona, we shouldn’t expect an imminent announcement that Morrissey is out and proud. (Sean Smith, the Big Issue, 15 November 1999) https://www.morrissey-solo.com/content/interview/big1199.htm

I would say ’97 felt bleak: racism was mentioned in nearly every Maladjusted review. The ’99 tour was accompanied by an NME article inviting readers to ‘brick’ morrissey offstage. Things didn’t get any warmer until 2002, when a new enthusiasm for The Smiths seemed to give Morrissey a bit of purchase. But even the 2004 NME interview was represented (by Steven Wells) as Morrissey grovelling for forgiveness. Things didn’t feel on an even keel until 2006. And we all know that lasted mere days. (“Hovis Lesley“, Morrissey Solo, 13 October 2021)

… he is a more intimidating presence than expected – unusually tall for a rock star, and thicker-set, not the droopy ironist you hear singing those droll and bitchy songs in a roughed-up Noel Coward-like voice… like an old-school East End villain… a soft but emphatic Mancunian brogue… characteristic contrariness… widely presumed to be gay… inexplicably popular with Mexicans. (Robert Sandall, the Times, 9 May 2004)

After a brief respite; in 2007, Tim Jonze, rehashed the 1992 homophobic hit piece, using mild remarks about immigration as the pretext. When Jonze joined the Guardian in 2010, he used its clout, credibility and connections to chip away at the fanbase, and slander Morrissey within the music industry.

Morrissey deserved to be marginalised:

If Morrissey can’t make a living out of playing to an audience as large and vociferous as the foam-flecked fundamentalists who follow him, there can be little hope for anyone else. But in some respects Morrissey is the author of his own marginalisation… Meanwhile the public persona that used to provoke and entertain – “Reggae is vile”, wishing unsanctioned biographer Johnny Rogan death in a car crash, “Cook Bernard Matthews” – became predictable, bitter and knee jerk. Likening Anders Breivik’s massacre at Utøya to a day at KFC, describing the Chinese as a sub-species, and blaming the royal family for the suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha all tried the patience of any but the most committed Morrissey sycophants. (Andrew Harrison, the Guardian, 22 July 2013) https://www.theguardian.com/music/shortcuts/2013/jul/22/morrissey-light-finally-gone-out?CMP=gu_com

He’s only worth ‘perverse lolz‘:

Morrissey, aloof as a queen, smug as a cat… As far as Morrissey concerts go, the one immortalised in his latest film Morrissey: Live isn’t the best. It saddens me to say it, but my love affair with Mozza is well and truly over… The low-point of the movie shows Morrissey handing the microphone to a selection of front-row fans who compete to give the best impressions of lobotomy patients… To hear him sing “For once in my life, let me get what I want” after several fans have done everything short of offering themselves up to him for sacrifice is ungrateful at best, disingenuous at worst. Ever decreasing circles of co-dependency with the ‘fans’ whilst the wider, more critical Audience either left long ago or now only go, like me, for the perverse lulz. (Ryan Gilbey, the New Statesman, 20 August 2013)

Here, Morrissey enters quasi-erotic raptures over the bad-lad fans, and tough-girl followers who constitute his final, uncritical, fanbase. (Andrew Harrison, the New Statesman, 14 November 2013)

The heterosexual one has to save the Smiths:

So it’s time for an intervention. Johnny Marr, protector of all that is right and good about the Smiths, we need you like never before. If you can banish Cameron to the wastelands, forcing him to salvage whatever meagre delights he can from the Mighty Lemon Drops, surely you can do the same to Morrissey. Just one tweet, that’s all it would take. “I forbid Morrissey from liking the Smiths.” That’s it. Then we can band together, Samwell Tarly and all, and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our enjoyment of a perfectly good band won’t once again be tainted by the lunk-headed ravings of a professional irritant like Morrissey. (Stuart Heritage, the Guardian, October 2017) https://www.theguardian.com/music/commentisfree/2017/oct/03/morrissey-fans-are-about-to-give-up-on-him-johnny-marr-please-stage-an-intervention?CMP=twt_gu

He’s an animal:

Morrissey is a boring old jackass. In his old age, the king of the outcasts has become just like your weird racist Fox News-loving uncle… He cancels so much that many fans wonder if he has some kind of serious illness or mental disorder that would explain his erratic behavior. When he does manage to make it to the stage… straight white men openly weep and fling themselves at him… I wonder what Morrissey’s conservative friends think about that. I wonder what Morrissey thinks of that… My brain won’t fully allow me to disconnect his sickening quotes from the music… So if he doesn’t want to lose even more fans to their consciences, he’ll do what he should’ve done many years ago: Shut his stupid face. (Jamie Lees, Riverside Times, 22 November 2017)

He’s a monster:

… 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)

He must be stopped:

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. (Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald, December 2017)

In 2018, self-described “former friend”, Dave Haslam, organised a party to protest against Morrissey’s supposed racism – getting positive coverage in the Guardian.

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. (Simon Hattenstone, The Guardian, June 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/29/protest-party-riposte-poisonous-parody-morrissey-smiths-tommy-robinson

And because Morrissey was asked about Kevin Spacey, and didn’t think the story he heard in 2017 sounded true, and because Morrissey is widely believed to be gay, Haslam would go on to insinuate that Morrissey is a paedophile –

Stewart Lee would write that he held Morrissey to ‘different standards‘ out of ‘sentiment’ – the other artist that he mentions, just happens to be heterosexual.

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)

The Guardian tried to contact everyone Morrissey worked with on California Son – as usual, ripping remarks out of context, neglecting to mention that Morrissey had clearly stated that he thought the press had lied about For Britain, that he was against fascism and racism, smearing him as right-wing – only one person talked to them, but they still went with the headline: ‘I feel like I’ve been had: Morrissey’s collaborator’s respond to his politics’. (Daniel Dylan Wray, The Guardian, 1 March 2019) https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/01/morrissey-collaborators-respond-to-his-politics

Tim Jonze would write that fans felt betrayed – repeating misquotations, using bigoted framing and guilt by association, bringing up Finsbury Park as the keystone, and splitting his career into the now traditional good Smiths (asexual), and bad solo (homoerotic).

To see Morrissey embrace the far right so openly was shocking. But was it surprising? Ever since the early 90s, he has flirted with the far right and fascist imagery – wrapping himself up in the union jack, writing a song called The National Front Disco, making inflammatory comments about immigration… I have to admit, not even a date in the high court, nor accusations of having a “schoolgirl giggle” have put me off listening to the Smiths… although his solo stuff feels too toxic for me to go near… (Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 30 May 2019)

David Stubbs – who wrote a homophobic ‘satire’ about Morrissey in the Quietus – called him the ‘stuff of disease‘:

David Stubbs, the Quietus URL, July 2019

Sadly, he still has an ultra-loyal phalanx of fans, for whom the word “thickness” certainly does not apply to their skins, who insist that the “real bigots” are Morrissey’s critics demonstrating their “narrow-mindedness”. Like their idol, they view of all of this as random persecution, in which they take a simple, indignant pleasure… Many profess to have no interest in his political views, regarding him solely as a musical content provider, a beat maker, a purveyor of vocals. This is bollocks, of course; they’re clearly hugely invested in him. In any case, if you’re capable of blithely setting aside his views, then there’s something badly missing in you. Morrissey has long since ceased to be worthy of cultural assessment; he no longer deserves to be part of that conversation. He has come to represent, along with the likes of Farage, Waters and Robinson, something nasty, reactionary and dangerous in our culture, a poisonous voice at this critical point in Britain’s island history. Something has hardened like a tumour inside him over the years; what was once whimsical, amusing, pop-culturally apposite, is now the stuff of disease. ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Any More’, isn’t funny any more. He’s not rarified; far too many people think and feel the way he does. And they’re making less and less of a secret of it. It’s frightening. And so, it’s come to this; with apologies to The Specials, if you have a Morrissey-loving friend, now is the time, now is the time, for your friendship to end. (David Stubbs, the Quietus, July 2019)

He’s never supported Nigel Farage – but a couple of quotes have been the excuse for relentless guilt by association.

The LA Times trusted The Guardian’s misleading coverage and stated in their headline: Morrissey is anti-immigrant and backs a white nationalist political party. Why don’t fans care? (Randall Roberts, LA Times, 24 October 2019) https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2019-10-24/morrissey-anti-immigrant-white-nationalist-hollywood-bowl

Morrissey tried to push back – but by this time his mother was dying, and his own mental and physical health had taken a severe hit:

Given the inexhaustible Hate Campaign executed against me by The Guardian and their followers, I am pleased with the UK chart position for “California son”. BUT WHO WILL GUARD US FROM THE GUARDIAN? No one, it seems. It is worth noting that their chief antagonist in this Hate Campaign is someone I took to court some years ago for writing lies about me. He lost his court battle then, and now he’s seeking his personal revenge by using The Guardian, who have been harassing everyone and anyone connected with my music imploring them to say something terrible about me for print… It is the voice of all that is wrong and sad about modern Britain. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 31 May 2019)

Billy Bragg – who uses LGBT+ activism to promote his career, but who joined in with the NME’s homophobia in 1992 – also kept attacking him:

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)

Tony Fletcher, who doesn’t seem to know anything about the black writers who have inspired Morrissey’s writing – James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou – urged people read about the blackness in the music of the Smiths (all white, all straight, apart from “the bad one“) in his Smiths book – but shun Morrissey’s current work – made with his Latino bandmates, Jessie Tobias, Mando Lopez and Gustavo Manzur, and including his (then) recent duet with Thelma Houston:

‘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, his blog, 2020)

Similarly the Quietus called Morrissey’s mostly Mexican band, ‘white-ish’ and their Latino sound, ‘stinking.. trumpets of Old Albion’ and ‘crappy Britain‘.


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, Hot Press, 20th August 2014)

Because of the press, another ex-fan thinks that Morrissey – an Irish Catholic, ‘humasexual’, immigrant – is a homophobic English ethno-nationalist.

Only recently did I learn that shirtlifter was once a British slur for gay men; the phrase “Shoplifters of the World Unite” may be Morrissey’s play on words… Morrissey lamented the impact of immigration on his homeland: “England is a memory now,” he said… He spoke of how the Chinese could be a “subspecies,” … revisiting his lyrics, I began to find them more vituperative, less empathetic than I’d recalled. A song’s narrator would be woefully misunderstood, but that was because he was surrounded by the dim-witted and distinctly othered: women buck-toothed and monstrous; gay pederasts; Bengalis who don’t belong… I’m not sure there’s a place for (mixed-race, faggoty) me in that mythical past. (Jeremy Atherton Lin, the Yale Review, Spring 2021)

And the NME continues to exclude Morrissey from his own work – refusing to name him when praising the Smiths.

Echoes of the Manchester greats appear throughout ‘Ribbon Around The Bomb’ – namely those of The Smiths. Shimmering, Johnny Marr-style guitars appear liberally on the likes of ‘Born Wild’, a track that also employs haunting ‘Strangeways Here We Come’-era vocal lines as Ogden delivers some of his best, most revealing lyricism to date…    (Rhys Buchanan, NME, 8th April 2022)

Naming him to underline that no one decent should ever want to be associated with him.

Considering that the ever-outspoken Morrissey has become pop’s persona non grata, while Marr has unwaveringly upheld the enduring cool of indie’s nice guy, surely most bands would want the praise to come the other way around? (Rhys Buchanan, NME, 8th April 2022)
https://www.nme.com/big-reads/blossoms-cover-interview-2022-ribbon-around-the-bomb-3200842


Islamophobe: Meat and the Manchester Bomb

On the 7th July 2005, 52 people in London were killed by Islamist terrorists. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33253598

Morrissey blamed Tony Blair, the UK’s Prime Minister, and George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America.

If not for Tony Blair’s self-interests, the people who were blown to pieces on London’s transport system that July morning would more than likely still be amongst the living. Although Bush and Blair collectively made the world a more dangerous place, neither of them, then or now, leads an unprotected life and neither is susceptible to the dangers… (Morrissey, Autobiography, Penguin, 2013)

And claimed, to have been investigated by the intelligence services in the UK and the USA becuase he had denounced the war in Iraq, and wished that Bush had died instead of ex-President Reagan.

The former lead singer of the Smiths tells British music paper NME that he believed he had been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and British intelligence agents because he was deemed a threat for speaking his mind. “They were trying to determine if I was a threat to the government, and similarly in England,” NME quotes the 46-year-old singer as saying. “But it didn’t take them very long to realize that I’m not.” In June 2004, Morrissey came under fire for interrupting a Dublin concert with news that former U.S. president Ronald Reagan had died, adding that he wished Bush had died instead. Months later, Morrissey urged U.S. voters to get rid of Bush, calling him a terrorist and adding that he “single-handedly turned the United States into the most neurotic and terror-obsessed country on the planet.” (Billboard, 26 February 2006) https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/59579/morrissey-claims-investigation-by-us-uk-intelligence/

In 2008, he wanted to tour Iran because he admired Arab pop star Kazem al-Sahir.

Heaven knows I’m Muslim now, Morrissey lines up Iran gig: Never mind the fundamentalists, here’s Morrissey. The rock singer is planning to play a concert in Iran as his contribution to the international healing process. The singer, whose songs include Bigmouth Strikes Again and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, is in talks with the Iranian government and the Foreign Office about staging a performance in Tehran later this year. (Maurice Chittenden, the Sunday Times, 3 February 2008) https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/heaven-knows-im-muslim-now-morrissey-lines-up-iran-gig-pw809hlmjjw

The former Smiths frontman hopes to appear onstage with acclaimed Arabian pop singer Kazem Al Sahir, one of the star’s professed heroes, and is currently in talks with the Iranian government to play a gig there later this year. (Irish Examiner, 8 January 2008) https://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/arid-30343497.html

On the 7th January 2015, 12 people were killed by Islamists targeting the left-wing satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo, for blasphemy, and a Jewish supermarket, for Jewishness. Morrissey didn’t say anything. But later his Je Suis Morrissey t-shirts, circa 2004-09, were erroneously linked to the free speech debate that had been symbolised in the solidarity slogan Je suis Charlie. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30708237

Charlie Hebdo’s former offices are located in a liberal neighbourhood of Paris, where nobody disputes the necessity to protect freedom of expression. But critics insist that one can be in favour of free speech without kowtowing to the “Je suis Charlie” mantra. (Mehdi Chebil, France 24, 4 January 2018)

Sporting a “Je Suis Morrissey” t-shirt, he deems himself a bastion for free speech while calling for a ban on Eid celebrations in the UK. (Darya Rustamova, Mangal Media, 25 May 2019)

New York, 2007, Pieter M. van Hattem

On the 13th November 2015, 130 people were murdered, most of them in the Bataclan music venue, by Islamic State. The motivation of Islamic State seemed to be more about killing unbelievers than freedom fighting. Their vision of an Islamic Caliphate was Imperial, supremacist and genocidal. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34827497

In paying tribute to the victims at a gig on 14th November in Santiago, Morrissey reportedly said, “As you know, as you’ve heard, the war of religion is upon us, or the religion of war is upon us. And we say ‘no thank you, no, no, no, no, no, no, no’.” https://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk/leisure/showbiz/14033038.morrissey-pays-tribute-to-paris-massacre-victims-by-playing-im-throwing-my-arms-around-paris-in-front-of-a-french-flag/

But, he very quickly got involved in an unseemly row over re-releasing I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, with his record company Harvest. https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/morrissey-universal-paris-tribute-single-6776961/

I couldn’t go through a Harvest Records situation again — they almost killed me, and probably regret that they didn’t. I find that if you are a genuine artist in 2016 you must look after yourself, but if you are trivial and fluffy then a label will hype you and help you and buy Paid Content space on online news pages to make you appear important. I paddle my own canoe. (Morrissey, News Com Au, 3 August 2016)

Fan made Twitter image @Stracy1675 posted on True To You, then posted on Morrissey Solo. David Joseph is the head of Harvest.

A year later, on the 12th June 2016, 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by Omar Mateen. In a call to the police just before the massacre, Mateen, had pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Morrissey was angry at Donald Trump, heterosexuality & guns. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36511778

Hate-rosexuality: although the gunman who massacred 49 people at an Orlando gay club is said to have been ‘repulsed’ by homosexuality, he nonetheless left behind a slew of self-adoring ‘selfies’; a handsome man gazing enchantedly at his own face. It is therefore acceptable for him to lovingly admire his own maleness, but it is not OK for other men to like other men. Does Islamic scripture say it is fitting for a man to sit alone taking adoring photographs of himself? I doubt it.
Meanwhile, Donald Thump, probably America’s next President, reacts to the Orlando massacre by explaining how, if the people within the club were themselves armed with guns, then there would have been fewer casualties. This, of course, is his way of avoiding any words of support to the Orlando gay community (it is their own fault for going into a nightclub without hand grenades). Donald Thump would therefore probably claim that the massacred children of Sandy Hook would still be alive today if only they’d had the common sense to carry sawn-off shotguns to school. The Thump response to Orlando is therefore anti-gay and pro-gun possession. Ann Coulter will be waving her baseball cap and cheering. It’s all going so well for America!
Unfortunately, CNN obliged the gunman once again with a flashing flood of publicity – which is all he ever wanted, and which will encourage the next shooter to prepare for international fame. Why show the gunman’s face? Nobody needs to see it. (Morrissey, True To You, June 2016)

In August that year, Morrissey was denounced as a racist for mentioning Nigel Farage, leader of hard right UK independence party UKIP in the same sentence as hard left, pro-Islam, Iranian and Russian state media employee, and politician George Galloway, and for complaining that London mayor Sadiq Khan eats Halal butchered beings (he had spoken in favour of halal meat) and talks too fast (Khan is a Londoner, with a London accent, Morrissey has never said anything that would relate his voice to his religion or ethnic heritage).

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. (Morrissey, News Com Au, 3 April 2016)

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/apr/29/george-galloway-interview-bradford-west

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, 22 May 2012)

It’s the emphatic inclusion of “halal” that adds a spicy hint of racism to Morrissey’s animal rights campaigning, doesn’t it? (Hadley Freeman, the Guardian, 4 August 2016) https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/lostinshowbiz/2016/aug/04/oh-god-morrissey-talks-about-galloway-farage-and-sadiq-khan

Nearly, everyone else gets to make spicy comments without being permanently branded a racist.

On the 22nd of May 2017, 22 people (many of them children) were killed at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-40010124

Morrissey had a statement about it posted on Facebook in which he blames the authorities – politicians, the Queen, Islamic State – Theresa May’s immigration policy and complained about inexact language.

Theresa May’s immigration policy was the Hostile Environment. He’d previously complained about George Bush’s immigration policy being too harsh, and immigration officials in Australia being rude. And would go on to accuse May of turning the UK into an international target. So it’s likely that he thought the Hostile Environment was antagonising people into becoming terrorists. And he’d previously explained that he believed inexact language meant governments intended to do nothing about a situation.

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)

It doesn’t take much to be thrown into a cell at LAX! You will notice that the Immigration Officers are persistently ordering you to ‘stand there’, which is a test to see if you will bow to their orders… they can be as illegal as they wish. Incidentally, when I arrived in Sydney last year the officer at Passport Control did her best to insult me and to cause a scene when there was no need… They use the ISIS issue as an excuse to denigrate everyone, and they absolutely love it. (Morrissey, News Com Au, 3 August 2016)

I despise racism. I despise fascism. I would do anything for my Muslim friends and I know they would do anything for me… Theresa May’s policies have turned Britain into a international target… 
(Morrissey, Morrissey Central, April 2018)

But increasingly we see how civilian murders don’t actually matter at all with governments.  The recent Malaysian plane attack is a perfect example.  In the first few days the media referred to it as an attack, and then suddenly it became a disaster.  By ‘disaster’ they were telling us that nothing would be done about it, as if it were a flood or something.  We all see how civilian deaths do not register with world leaders unless a loss of oil or gas is involved… (Morrissey, Vegan Logic, 5 September 2014)

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/27/hostile-environment-anatomy-of-a-policy-disaster

It’s also, worth remembering that one of his closest friends, a woman he considered having a child with, Tina Dehghani, is from Iran.

Tina Dehghani, on the left

He was immediately accused of blaming all muslims and all non-white immigrants, and denounced as a racist.

Perhaps the final straw was his reaction to the terrorist murders at Manchester’s MEN Arena. Transparently Islamophobic, and published at a time of heightened community tensions, it was unforgivable. ‘In modern Britain everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private,’ he dog-whistled. (Michael Calderbank, Red Pepper, 2 December 2017)

Northern Irish comedian, Michael Legge, who once wrote an article that could be paraphrased into “Muslims are fucking nutters who should be put in asylums before they bomb us” (and if Morrissey wrote it, that’s exactly how it would have been paraphrased) posted abuse on Facebook and then spent years calling Morrissey fans racists on Twitter.*

Just like Moses and Allah and Thor and Spock never existed. The very fact that in 2008 this STILL has to be pointed out to people is terrifying to me. We wait until unspeakable horror happens, like a bomb going off, before we arrest people who are doing things in the name of their god but why? Why wait. Anyone going to any church, synagogue, mosque or Games Workshop should be immediately arrested for living inside a daydream. At the very least put the fucking nutters in an asylum. (Michael Legge, his blog, 29 November 2008) http://michaelleggesblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/religion.html

*Maybe it’s the rawness of “the troubles” or embarrassment at his Irish background, but another Northern Irish arts/media worker, Guardian journalist, Eamonn Forde, has also been extensively using social media to “satirically” denounce him.

Although Morrissey’s negativity isn’t a natural fit for a sentimental tribute concert, the controversy likely led to him being excluded from One Love Manchester. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40134567

Talking about it, he said: “because I do look back in anger! I would have sang ‘World Peace Is None of Your Business’ or ‘Life is a Pigsty’ – or something truthful and meaningful. If my child had been killed at Manchester Arena I wouldn’t be lighting candles and swaying… I’d be in a complete rage.” (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 24 June 2019) https://www.morrisseycentral.com/messagesfrommorrissey/234417-the-interview

World Peace attacks governments:

World peace is none of your business
You must not tamper with arrangements
Work hard and sweetly pay your taxes
Never asking what for
Oh oh, you poor little fool, oh oh, you fool
World peace is none of your business
Police will stun you with their stun guns
Or they’ll disable you with tasers
That’s what Government’s for
Oh oh, you poor little fool, oh oh, you fool
World peace is none of your business
So would you, kindly keep your nose out
The rich must profit and get richer
And the poor must stay poor
Oh oh, you poor little fool, oh oh, you fool
Each time you vote, you support the process
Each time you vote, you support the process
Each time you vote, you support the process
Brazil, Bahrain, Egypt, Ukraine
So many people in pain No more you poor little fools
No more you fool

Life Is A Pigsty is about how disgusting life is, but we still fall in love.

It’s the same old S.O.S.
But with brand new
Broken fortunes,
And once again I turn
To you
Once again, I do
I turn to you It’s the same old S.O.S
But with brand new
Broken fortunes
I’m the same
Underneath
But this, you
You surely knew Life is a pigsty
Life is a pigsty
Life is a pigsty
Life, life is a pigsty
Life, life is a pigsty
Life, life is a pigsty
Life, life is a pigsty and if you don’t know this
Then what do you know?
Every second of my life
I only live for you
And you can shoot me
And you can throw me off a train
I still maintain
I still maintain
Life, life is a pigsty
Life is a pigsty and I’ve been shifting gears all of my life
But I’m still the same underneath
And this you surely knew I can’t reach you
I can’t reach you
I can’t reach you anymore Can you please stop time?
Can you stop the pain?
I feel too cold
And now I feel too warm again
Can you stop this pain?
Can you stop this pain?
Even now in the final hour
Of my life
I’m falling in love again
Again
Again

Both songs predate the Islamophobia accusations, but feelings were running so high against him, that even though, he was angry at the UK authorities who 3 years later would have significant failings revealed in a public inquiry: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/sep/08/greater-manchester-force-had-no-plan-to-police-arena-on-night-of-bombing

& Islamic State, who styled itself as a government, & was brutal to the people who found themselves living in the territory it conquered: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29052144

World Peace, would likely have been seen as divisive.

And despite, knowing that Morrissey & Islam are in total agreement that eating pigs is a bad thing (for different reasons) – pig in a song title is likely to have been interpreted as a racist insult.

In April 2018, Morrissey was denounced as an Islamophobe and a racist for saying that Eid al-Adhar wasn’t joyous because animals are sacrificed for it – Qurbani is the tradition of sacrificing an animal for God – and for saying that Halal slaughter is evil, and certified by ISIS supporters (I take it he means only hardliners would want an animal’s throat cut, he has never elaborated).

Theresa May was always a Prime Minister uninvited. She is incapable of leadership. She cannot say her own name unless it’s written down on a cue card in front of her. I recall her speech on Eid al-Adhar, and how she referred to it as a ”joyous celebration” … as millions of animals had their throats slit to mark the occasion. I wondered what kind of compassion she could possibly have. The answer is none... If you have any concern for animal welfare, for example, you cannot possibly vote for either Conservatives or Labour, because both parties support halal slaughter, which, as we all know, is evil. Furthermore, halal slaughter requires certification that can only be given by supporters of ISIS, and yet in England we have halal meat served in hospitals and schools! UK law is pointless! animals rights 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... I am not saying that stunned slaughter is acceptable, because it couldn’t ever be... I think the point is that we cease to put ourselves first. It is not about what we frivolously want. Every animal even during slaughter fights and kicks until its very last breath. It has one instinct and that is to survive. I stopped watching television because of animal death commercials. I couldn’t allow that into my living space for one more day. I feel liberated without it. They won’t show cigarette commercials but it’s OK to show butchered lambs? And  to laugh about it?  (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, April 2018)

In July-August 2018, he worked with Sameer Gadhia on California Son and went to see his band, Giant the Younger, in LA… just … just … magnificent. Catch them if you can. Sameer is the best singer in the world today. And yesterday. And tomorrow. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 10 August 2019)

In April 2019, he was bewildered about why he was denounced as a racist and was blaming the meat industry as a whole for the world’s problems.

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… successive governments receive support and cash and sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies and farmers associations, so therefore governments are obliged to repay them. The idea, I think, is to keep people unwell, sick, or dying, and the best way to do this is to convince them that fat slices of sheeps faces are good for you. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, April 2019)

As ever, it made no difference – everything he says is chopped up into tiny snippets, sometimes one word, sometimes an imagined word, and added to the canard that he’s a dangerous racist.

Once the torches are lit & the pitchforks are sharpened, it’s very hard to avoid being chased to the windmill.

On a Side Note: As the son of immigrants, Morrissey’s acutely aware of the identity crisis that comes from having two cultures. It’s one of the reasons he has a strong Chicano fanbase. Like him, they left their Catholic country (Mexico/Ireland) to live in a Protestant/Secular country (America/England) that often doesn’t acknowledge, like or understand them.

“my family has myriad tales of living in a golden Mexico during the 1940s and 1950s. Those stories helped foster a deep-seated melancholy within me about where I truly belong. Not quite American; not wholly Latino, living in all the spaces in between. Growing up in rural Ohio, these duelling identities caused me an incredible amount of angst, as I tried to traverse the space between home and school. It’s easy to see where so many of Morrissey’s songs that deal with identity crisis, with a sense of alienation, of being an “other”, would appeal to people such as me. Feeling ostracised, not part of a homogeneous American culture – that’s enough to make anyone morose and woebegone.” (March, 2016) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/07/morrissey-popularity-mexicans-smiths-chicanos-california

“Morrissey’s ‘Irishness’ is partly contained in this idea of the ‘outsider’, a fascination with writers including Oscar Wilde, his black wit, and as he has says” – “Ireland has always been a very credible and very poetic place, with no-one under any illusions about themselves – we all end up in the same bucket etc.”  (Siobhan Kane, Event Guide, August, 2006 – transcription by David Tsang, on Morrissey Solo, 24 August 2006) https://www.morrissey-solo.com/article.pl?sid=06/08/24/1713247

He wrote a song, In Mexico, 2004, about the border.

I went for a walk to inhale
The tranquil, cool, lover’s air
But I could taste a trace
Of American chemical waste
And the small voice said
“What can we do?”In Mexico
I went for a walk to inhale
The tranquil, cool, lover’s air
But I could sense the hate
From the Lone Star state
And a small voice said
“What can we do?” It seems if you’re rich and you’re white
You’ll be alright
I just don’t see why
This should be so
If you’re rich and you’re white
You’ll be alright
I just don’t see why
This should be so In Mexico
I lay on the grass
And I cried my heart out
For want of my love
Oh, for want of my love
Oh, for want of my love It seems if you’re rich and you’re white
You think you’re so right
I just don’t see why
This should be so
If you’re rich and you’re white
Then you’ll be OK
I just don’t see why
This should be soIn Mexico
I lay on the grass
And I cried my heart out
For want of my love
For want of my love
For want of my love
For want of my love

The UK’s anti-Irishness and anti-Catholicism are near forgotten these days but were still prevalent well into Morrissey’s adulthood. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/irish-butt-english-racism-more-eight-centuries-1342976.html

California Son

Pingate (wearing the badge of UK fringe party For Britain) happened as Moz was releasing California Son – a selection of left-wing protest songs from his childhood – plus genderqueer covers of Jobriath, Melanie & 5th Dimension.

He had always loved these artists. And had always believed that anyone with a message that disturbed the establishment would be excluded.

(From his autobiography, published in Penguin Modern Classics, 2013)

In 1971, I had watched helplessly as Buffy Sainte-Marie made her debut on Top of the Pops singing her own composition, Soldier Blue; a mannish white working shirt, and what were surely blue jeans, dogged determination in her brownish face, and the truth of it all in her eyes. “Oh, soldier blue, soldier blue, can’t you see that there’s another way to love her?” The ‘her’ is the land, and ‘the other way’ is minus bombs and military artillery. Or so I assumed. Serious artists rarely make the stages of Top of the Pops because the show is essentially light entertainment, yet this song of great depth has risen to number 7, and, light or not, the BBC are duty bound as a public service to air any song elected by the public. In the market-driven mush of British pop, there no continual place for Buffy Sainte-Marie with her carrion calls of loss and injustice. But there she is, and her am I, and the secret of song unravels. I discover Moratorium on the flipside of Soldier Blue, and this song has a fighting vocal over a lengthy stream of words that include the line “Fuck the war – bring our brothers home”, and I weigh my new love against the Willesden weediness of Greyhound, whose singer’s voice is ready to crack and fold at any second.

But by the time the album had been released he’d become keen on a gay Irish feminist vegan called Anne Marie Waters, who set up a party called For Britain, and who was claiming that she was being falsely accused of racism by the ‘loony left’ because she was speaking about the impact of religion (she’d previously been in the National Secular Society and the Labour Party) on women’s rights, gay rights, and animal welfare.

This chimed with his experience of being smeared as a racist at Finsbury Park in 1992 because the NME thought he had a gay fetish for racist skinheads and had incited a homophobic attack against himself to satisfy it, his experience of that scandal being used to condemn him as a ‘rogue Tory’ and a racist for very mild remarks about immigration changing London as it gentrified in 2007, which in no way called for immigration to be limited, stopped or reversed, and with his experience of being called a racist for mentioning halal slaughter when he rails against all animal slaughter all the time.

He didn’t think she was far right. And he didn’t think he was supporting a far right party. He thought Theresa May was antagonising Islamic State with draconian policies and that Anne Marie would stop the terrorism by bringing people together and would help animals, children and women by making sure there could be no religious veto applied to animal welfare laws, gay rights or women’s rights (something she was pushing heavily on social media).

https://www.morrisseycentral.com/messagesfrommorrissey/i-ve-been-dreaming-of-a-time-when-the-english-are-sick-to-death-of-labour-and-tories

I despise racism.  I despise fascism.  I would do anything for my Muslim friends, and I know they would do anything for me. In view of this, there is only one British political party that can safeguard our security.  That party is For Britain. Please give them a chance. Listen to them. Do not be influenced by the tyrannies of the MSM who will tell you that For Britain are racist or fascist – please believe me, they are the very opposite!!! Please do not close your mind. Labour is hopelessly naive. Theresa May’s policies have turned Britain into a international target. The BBC has closed down. The Loony Left is concerned only with victim culture. For Britain will keep British society together. Violence is not the way forward. There are many problems in modern Britain that have become too large for Theresa May to deal with – mostly because she created them in the first place. The press appear to deal only in fashionable outrage; inflammatory and unjust comments against any new party that threatens the same old bloody pointless two-party system. Please give For Britain a chance. They will bring an end to the modern Westminster mania for self-destruction. For Britain is the bulldog breed that will never surrender. Both Labour and Conservatives have already sold you down the river into righteous oblivion. This is my last political strike. No wish to upset anyone!  But the time has come to fight, and Labour and the Conservatives have their backs to the sea. Are you capable of change? Thank you, and peace for all of us (Morrissey, Central, 20 April 2018)

In a kind of hideous vicious circle – decades of press smears that he was a far right racist had led him to believe that Anne Marie Waters wasn’t a far right racist, and his support for For Britain was taken as the final ‘proof’ that he was a far right racist all along.

The album was crushed.

The Guardian (24th May, 2019) could only hear slimey trolling – in what is, a very sweet & sincere album (there is no decade of contentious proclamations, there’s three decades of a few journalists sifting through his interviews & on-stage patter to find half a sentence to condemn him for, usually connected to his belief in animal rights or dislike of Monarchy or confusion about morality growing up in a world where he was a born sinner for not being straight).

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/may/24/morrissey-california-son-review-clumsy-covers-troll-like-spirit

Merseyrail removed the poster. Indie record stores banned his records. DJs stopped playing him. The press tried to harass his collaborators into denouncing him. And the moral panic got into full swing.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseyrail-orders-removal-morrissey-posters-16321633

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/morrissey-smiths-record-shop-banned-16313914

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/01/morrissey-collaborators-respond-to-his-politics