Morrissey, the former frontman of The Smiths, took a different approach with his tribute to the late Sinéad O’Connor, expressing anger and frustration towards those now offering kind words after her sudden passing at 56. As the world mourned the loss of the iconic Nothing Compares 2 U singer, tributes poured in from dignitaries like the President of Ireland to celebrities like Russell Crowe and devoted fans, especially in Ireland, where her influence was profound.
However, Morrissey criticised those he believed had failed to support O’Connor during her lifetime. In a lengthy message shared on his website, he referred to the “cruel playpen of fame” that now overflowed with praise for her, labelling her an “icon” and “legend.” He stated, “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.”
The singer targeted the press, the music industry, and what he called “15-minute celebrities” for their hypocrisy in their posthumous tributes. He pointed out that these same entities had often demeaned O’Connor during her life.
He went on to that she had been called, “Sad, fat, shocking, insane … oh but not today!‘Music CEOs who had put on their most charming smile as they refused her for their roaster are queing-up to call her a “feminist icon”, and 15 minute celebrities and goblins from hell and record labels … are squeezing on to Twitter to twitter their jibber-jabber … when it was YOU who talked Sinead into giving up.’ She was ‘degraded, as those few who move the world are always degraded.’
Like other influential artists, he argued that O’Connor had to endure degradation, a price often paid by those who challenge the status quo. Morrissey questioned why society repeatedly failed to save talented individuals like Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, and Billie Holiday. He emphasised that the music and fame accompanying O’Connor’s career were not worth her life.
In his tribute, Morrissey celebrated O’Connor as a bold and unapologetic individual who refused to be confined by societal expectations. She fearlessly spoke out when others chose silence. He lamented that she faced harassment simply for being true to herself and expressed the hope that she had finally found peace.
Morrissey criticised the mainstream media for missing the essence of O’Connor’s legacy, relying instead on clichéd labels of “icon” and “legend” while ignoring her struggles. He challenged social media commenters to reflect on their hypocritical stance, emphasising that O’Connor no longer needed their insincere praise.