The Worst Person You Know (Morrissey) Just Made a Great Point

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As a child of the late ’80s, I can’t say I was familiar with Sinead O’Connor beyond the highlights: her chart-topping cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U” and its equally brilliant music video; her infamous performance on Saturday Night Live; her decision to boycott the Grammys over The Recording Academy’s bias towards commercial music; her outspoken advocacy about social and political issues, including racism, mental health, abuse, and women’s rights, etc.

But I have been around long enough to have seen how the music industry and the media evolved in the way we talk about women in music and mental health. Throughout her life, O’Connor did not receive the same compassion or support as her peers do in present day. When she took a stance against the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse of children, she was obfuscated by much of the industry. Joe Pesci threatened to beat her up over the SNL incident, while Madonna mocked her in the press. When O’Connor stated that she would not perform if the National Anthem was played before her concerts, Frank Sinatra publicly threatened to “kick her in the ass.” While appearing at a Bob Dylan tribute concert weeks after SNL, she was showered in boos — only Kris Kristofferson came to her defense.

Later in life, as she openly struggled with mental health issues, O’Connor was often at the receiving end of salacious headlines and snide commentary. Social media posts in which she threatened to take her own life were disregarded as her being overdramatic. Her appearance on Dr. Phil in 2017, where she spoke about her struggle with imposter syndrome and being a victim of child support, elicited little reaction from her peers. There were so many reports of her going missing, that many began to tune out.

So, when O’Connor died Wednesday at the age of 56, you can understand why Morrissey responded to many of the tributes to O’Connor by calling bullshit.

“You praise her now ONLY because it is too late. You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you,” Morrissey wrote in a scathing message posted to his website.

As the saying goes, even a broken clock can be right twice a day. For all his faults, Morrissey is correct in this instance: many of these social media tributes ring hollow and come too little too late.