Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Isn’t Sinead O’Connor overdue a massive, grovelling apology from absolutely everybody?

In 1992, Sinead O’Connor ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live as a protest against paedophilia in the Catholic Church and the complicity of the church hierarchy. It was viewed as an act of career suicide. The following day, steamrollers crushed hundreds of her CDs outside Rockefeller Center to huge cheers from protesters. On the next SNL, presenter Joe Pesci quipped that “if it had been my show, I would have gave her such a smack.”

A few days later, O’Connor was booed off the stage at a Bob Dylan Tribute in Madison Square Garden. (That last clip is particularly well worth watching, by the way, both for the virulence of the abuse directed towards her, and the courage with which she stands up to it.) It wasn’t just in American that she was dismissed as a crank. Lest we forget, in this episode of Father Ted she was parodied as a bonkers feminist making any number of preposterous allegations against the Catholic Church. (Among them, that the church kept a secret hoard of potatoes during the famine, which they hid in pillows and sold abroad at potato fairs… Okay, that’s still funny!)

It won’t have troubled her unduly, but in the interest of disclosure, I should admit to having myself written spoof articles for The Slate magazine in Dublin in which – following her shock, rapid-fire conversions to lesbianism, Rastafarianism and the Catholic priesthood – she outed herself as, amongst other things, the elusive mastermind behind the September 11th terror attacks. It was unanimous. We all thought she was nuts.

Well, she wasn’t nuts. In fact, even the most outlandish allegations O’Connor made against the Catholic Church eighteen years ago seem pretty tame in comparison to what we now know to have occurred. And in the wake of the most recent wave of revelations, which have implicated the current Pope, the US media seems belatedly to have acknowledged as much.

On Friday, she contributed this well written op-ed piece to the Washington Post (Damien Rice, take note!) and discussed her views with readers in this online Q&A. The same day, she spoke articulately about the abuse scandal in Ireland, via a dodgy laptop hookup, with Anderson Cooper on CNN.

But no one to date (that I’m aware of) has apologised to Sinead O’Connor for the ridicule heaped upon her, as a result of her having the courage to speak out on this issue long before it was fashionable to do so. So let me be the first. Sinead, I apologise. We were wrong. You were right. And you had more balls than anyone I’ve ever seen. In the words of one of our mutual heroes If it was a big, big tree, you were a small axe…

March 28th, 2010.

103 Responses to “Isn’t Sinead O’Connor overdue a massive, grovelling apology from absolutely everybody?”

  1. Paul O'Mahony (Cork) Says:

    Well said. Thanks for telling the story of what you did. I missed the original incident because I was in UK and had no interest in Sinead O’Connor then

  2. gueuleton Says:

    Very good point, very well put

  3. nicky Says:

    Sinead is definitely due an apology. 38 years ago my father warned me never to be alone with a priest or take a lift from one. This was before I went to Irish College which was run by the priests. He told me that they lived very unnatural lives and that some of them preyed on children and did bad things to them. I took his advise. Lots of people knew what was going on even then.

  4. Shiva Says:

    I watched that episode and remember laughing when she did it. Moments later I realized it wasn’t comedy and then it got serious. Now I think everyone who ever booed her should apologize.

  5. aaron Says:

    the reaction to that incident always bugged me anyways, even apart from what we now know in regard to the abuses. i’ve never ever gotten why the Pope, whoever he may currently be, is awarded automatic respect from people, when so many things they do are unchristian, firstly, and just plain disgraceful (advising against condom use in Africa, calling all Christians to oppose marriage equality, leading a Religious organisation based on guilt and fear. Everything the Catholic church does and is seems to be in contrast to what Christianity is and should be about. And the Pope is the poster boy of that.

  6. steve Says:

    So much respect for Kris Kristofferson after seeing that.

  7. steve Says:

    And Sinead too, obviously.

  8. phil Says:

    +me. It was a little before I started paying attention to the world, but that sounds pretty crappy. Way to stand up to it!

    I am curious to know if she had some sort of evidence prompting the picture ripup or what the cause was otherwise. Seems like it had to be something pretty concrete to be willing to go down like that for it.

  9. Dale Says:

    Speak for yourself! I never doubted her.

  10. Chino Blanco Says:

    No kidding. What Dale said. I remember watching that week’s SNL. I wasn’t shocked or bothered until later … by Dylan’s lame non-defense of Sinead.

  11. penni Says:

    I remember I was shocked into silence by what she did, but next, I cheered and clapped. And I was outraged by how she was treated after. Some of us, in this issue, supported her all along. Bet most of us are lapsed Catholics. :/

  12. John Says:

    Great post.

    I just posted the video and a link to your article on Videosift.


  13. Spaghetti Hoop Says:

    I really admired her when she she protested against the Catholic Church. At last somebody prominent in Irish society was exposing the organisation for all their sick practices.

    Then I thought she was 100% certified nuts when she became a nun. Lost all respect for her then.

  14. Ann Donnelly Says:

    An avid SNL fan, I happened to miss that episode of the show and have read how that they haven’t shown that bit when they play re-runs — they use a clip from dress rehearsal where she just holds up a picture of an African child. I knew about it though because it did make the headlines, not for what the church had done, but that ‘crazy Sinead’ was up to something again.

    When I heard the story of her abuse later I totally understood what brought her to do this, so perhaps her error was that her message lacked clarity — and of course people didn’t listen to what she said after, they’d totally written her off already. The US, especially the media, are not fervent catholics — but perhaps afraid of what a strong minded, outspoken woman has to say.

    It was good to see Sinead’s Washington Post item and I hope that we have finally learned a lesson about dismissing cries for justice – whether it be from a celebrity on a late night TV show or a child that has been abused and forgotten by the people entrusted to care for them.

    So NBC, Lorne Michael’s and all – how about putting that clip back into the re-runs. That would be a start!

  15. Ger Says:

    @ Spaghetti Hoop – she didn’t become a nun, she became a priest

  16. Spaghetti Hoop Says:

    [this allegation is untrue and has been deleted at Sinead O'Connor's request]

  17. Lisa Says:

    What’s also really interesting is the difference between the reaction to Sinead O’Connor back in 1993 and then to Brian McFadden’s abominable “Irish Son” in 2004 when he was attempting to launch a solo career as a “serious” musical artist. McFadden was absolutely panned for the song (which presents Dublin as constrained by a “holy book full of rules”, McFadden himself “warped by the Christian Brothers…made to get down on my knees on Sunday with the other fools”, and challenges the Brothers to “hit me now that I am twice your size”.) Elton John described it as the worst song he’d ever heard in his life and McFadden took a particularly hard time for featuring the sign for St Fintan’s CB School in Sutton in the video for the song – he’d never attended that school in his life. But anyway, the point is that McFadden was laughed out of it for trying to posture as some sort of anti-establishment figure having spent the previous five years as a glossy-haired boyband member. As a protest song against the Catholic Church he was ten years too late. No one even raised an eyebrow at the “hard-hitting” lyrics about religious orders knocking kids around the place.
    The times they were a-changing.

  18. Colin Says:

    One of the highlights of 1992, found it all entertaining but because it was O’Connor, just saw it as one of those wacky things she was inclined to do. Her priesthood and comments later helped muddy the waters further.

    Always wondered if there would have been the same level of vitirol if a different celebrity had torn the photo, say Bruce Springsteen?

    Worryingly the protest wasn’t just censored or removed from future SNL broadcasts but that it was actually replaced with O Connor’s rehearsal, almost an attempt to rewrite it all. Pesci’s protest a week later however with a repaired photo and threat of a “smack in the mouth” remained. Protesst against abuse removed and protest with abuse applauded. Good call.

  19. Alex Garrett Says:

    Watching the video of Sinead being booed off-stage today, I am deeply moved. If I could only begin to imagine that I might be so strong in the face of such a vile example of hatred.
    Being too young at the time to understand the significance of her actions, I can only look on in awe at her stalwart defiance of the crowd’s disgusting behaviour.

  20. Eoin Says:

    @ Lisa – I’d have to disagree with you there. In McFadden’s case, I don’t think people’s problem with the song had to do with it timing. It was more a case that he was making a blatant play for credibility by having a fashionable pop at the Catholic church and wallowing vicariously in the suffering of others. Sinead O’Connor spent time in a Reform School.

    My experimental all-sarcasm McFadden-smackdown is here http://bit.ly/d4sQqR

  21. massey Says:

    Holy fuck Butler do you know you’re on the front page of Reddit?

  22. Gina Says:

    I hope she rips up a picture of the current pope in front of some cameras. He’s the scumbag that covered up the most pedophilia in American history. Does not deserve to be pope.

  23. Eoin Says:

    @ Massey – yes, I am aware of that. Those 20,000 hits before lunchtime were a bit of a giveaway…

  24. Lisa Says:

    @Eoin: hmmm I guess I didn’t phrase things as articulately as I should have. That was precisely my point: the song caused a (minor) furore not because of McFadden’s claims that the Catholic Church abused children, more because of his claims that it affectly HIM directly. The larger issues were taken as given. An ill-calculated move to try to gain street-cred which backfired.

  25. Eoin Says:

    @ Lisa – sorry, understood and agreed!

  26. Marlowe Says:

    Around 1990, in Newfoundland, Canada, the Mount Cashell scandal erupted. Men of all ages were suddenly telling their stories of abuse under the Catholic “Christian Brothers” who ran the boys’ orphange – a paragon of virtue for a century – an organization purported to take young orphans and turn them into productive members of society. Turns out they were abusing those boys the whole time, and when news broke, it ruined the orphanage. A large supermarket now stands on its grounds, after the place was taken down to the ground in the aftermath of the scandal, rather than let it stand as a reminder of what happened. When O’Connor tore up that picture, I was watching, live. And I applauded. So should have everyone.

  27. Donald Eric Kesler Says:

    I owe Sinead O’Connor an apology. If she ever reads this, I hope that she knows I am sorry. She was right. I should have helped her fight the real enemy.

    After the incident on Saturday Night Live, I was curious to know what motivated Sinead O’Connor. This was before the World Wide Web, so I read a few newspaper and magazine articles on the incident. Either I had poor reading skills at the time or the sources I read did a terrible job of reporting, but I did not know until recently that Sinead O’Connor’s act was in response to accusations of child molestation. It seemed so random at the time. How did I miss this part of the story?

  28. albinicus Says:


  29. Curly_sue Says:

    Sinead O Connor cultivated animosity mostly because she was a media hoor.
    She would say anything and everything to get her records a bit of hype and jumped on the bandwagon with this at the time.
    She is a nutter, saying the virgin mary was reincarated in her.
    [redacted at the request of Sinead O'Connor] She was obviously courting the italians to buy her stuff.
    If she felt so strongly against catholisism why was she ordained a catholic priest?
    I like her, but she is a media hoor.

  30. Eoin Says:

    @ alinicus – Colin emailed me about that. It’s pretty funny, but I’d rather not get into it here. (Besides, it’s not like I’m not guilty of the occasional bit of blogger-baiting myself!)

    @ Curly Sue – I disagree with pretty much all of that. For starters, I’m fairly certain that interview was in 1997. Also re:

    “If she felt so strongly against catholisism why was she ordained a catholic priest?”

    Watch the Anderson Cooper video above.

  31. This is what a Reddit traffic spike looks like… | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] in the middle of that graph is where I took ten days’ sabbatical.) Last night, I published a blog post about Sinead O’Connor. It immediately began to generate large volumes of incoming traffic from my Twitter feed. On a whim, [...]

  32. steve Says:

    Was a comment on this thread really deleted at Sinead O’Connor’s request??

  33. David Says:

    In fairness to Eoin, I only usually comment when he bigs up Conan, but good article it must be said.

  34. MamaMacabre Says:


  35. Eoin Says:

    @ Steve – yes, see here:

  36. Firefox Tab Purge #3 « Thinkers' Podium Says:

    [...] all of this, have you spared a thought for Sinead O’Connor? Remember how she was castigated for speaking out about this very matter almost 20 years ago? I think it’s reasonable that some people owe her an apology. Makes you wonder what other [...]

  37. Peter81 Says:

    I don’t mean to change the subject but whatever happened to Joe Pesci?

  38. Eoin Says:

    Last thing I saw him in was a small part in The Good Shepard. Bad film, but he was pretty good in it.

  39. steve white Says:

    she’s still a god botherer… :/

    saw her on cnn iconnect last night, she actually had to correct the interviewer becuase the interviewer suggested she abused while in religious run industrial, which wasn’t true.

  40. Aaron Says:

    Sinead’s stunt on SNL had nothing to do with child abuse allegations. She’s anti-catholic, and anti-christian in general. For political and “punk rock” reasons.

  41. Eoin Says:

    @ Aaron – you clearly didn’t even watch the video, let alone follow any of the links.

  42. Phillip Alden Says:

    Why is it that we crucify our truth-tellers and constantly applaud liars and demagogues?
    Why do we continue to tune in to Fox News, CNN and other TV “news” outlets when we have been shown they are filled with liars and people with a radical right-wing agendas?
    Why do we support people like Rupert Murdoch by watching his TV shows? “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” help pay for Murdoch’s destruction of our democracy?
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – KILL YOUR TV!

  43. Colin Says:

    @Phillip Alden – Guessing you’re American since there’s no mention of RTE or TV3. And you’re mad as hell and you’re not taking it anymore.

    Perhaps you’re better off viewing cable news as news entertainment, for the same reasons wrestling in America falls under sports entertainment. If your side isn’t winning then you get call the opposition cheaters. May save you from a future nervous breakdown.

    And Ted Turner, owner of CNN, is a left winger.

    Ehhhh, long live the internet! Long may she remain bias and lie free!

  44. Kirk Barrett Says:

    I saw Sinead O’Conner on that SnL episode when I was about 17. I didn’t know enough about the world to fully understand it at that point, but I knew I had just seen something important. I don’t feel the need to apologize to Sinead, but I do feel the need to thank her for helping to open my eyes to these issues. (Not to mention the need to thank her for some of the best music I have heard in my life. Lion and the Cobra blew me away away when I first heard it around 1990 and I still listen to it from time to time today.)

  45. Spaghetti Hoop Says:

    My comment reflected Curly’s point. Not sure why mine was deleted on request as it wasn’t slanderous in anyway. It was about Sinead O’ Connor’s inconsistent views on the Catholic faith. I admired her rebel outbursts in the past regarding the Catholic Church; then thought it suspect that she became a member of the clergy. Massive U-turns in principle like that, I don’t endorse.

  46. Eoin Says:

    @ Spaghetti Hoop – specifically re your comment she said:

    There is a comment which states I apologised for ripping the popes picture up. That is totally untrue. There is also I believe in the same comment the statement that I “gave 150 000″ to the church.. That is also untrue [...] Am sure u can see why in this particular case I am upset at the suggestion that I would ever even dream, under threat of having my fingernails pulled off… Of apologising.. Or paying some penalty.
    I stand by what I did. And always have and always will

    You’re right in saying that you weren’t the only person to make that allegation. I’ve since amended the other comment too. I was minding a sick nine month child, didn’t have time to go through all the comments with a fine tooth comb.

  47. Alexandra Erin Says:

    I’m glad you’re redacting spurious allegations. There’s a whole internet out there where people can say whatever they want, regardless of truth and regardless of who gets hurt. They don’t need this corner of it.

    @Spaghetti Hoop: There’s a difference between “inconsistent” and “complex”. A complex route might involve going north at one point and south at another. If we assume her message was ever as simple as “There is nothing good nor redeemable in the Catholic faith, Christianity, or God” then yes she’s been wildly inconsistent, but I don’t believe that’s the case.

    Do the people who think she was going back on her previous stances realize that the ordination of a woman as a priest is an act that the Vatican considers worthy of instant ex-communication for those involved?

  48. Steve Says:

    Eoin, thank you for posting this. I was also just a little too young to grasp this at the time…or a little too high maybe, but you have put a great snapshot together helping us to remember this happened… which i’m about to “forward to all”….Good work fella.

    It also seems Sinéad has been reading some of these comments. In that case, let me simply say that both performances linked above were humbling to watch, and showed incredible courage. Maith an cailín Sinéad…..keep it lit.

  49. elaine Says:

    Sinead, if you read this I wish to extend so much love to you and your family. The madison square garden video brought tears to my eyes. You were so young and so brave. Love, Elaine.

  50. Colin Says:

    I was interested to see where the supposed apology for the 1992 SNL appearance came from. Few things that mention it have all lead back to crediting the story to a Vita magazine and O’Connor’s wiki entry:

    “On September 22, 1997, O’Connor was interviewed in Vita, an Italian weekly newspaper. In the interview, she asked the Pope to forgive her. She claimed that the tearing of the photo was “a ridiculous act, the gesture of a girl rebel.” She claimed she did it “because I was in rebellion against the faith, but I was still within the faith.” She went on to quote Saint Augustine, by saying, “Anger is the first step towards courage.”[6] However, O’Connor remains unrepentant about the incident. In a 2002 interview with Salon.com, when asked if she would change anything about the October 3, 1992 SNL appearance, she replied, “Hell, no.”

    a) “she asked the pope to forgive her” – lie
    b) Cannot picture Sinead describing herself as a “girl rebel”, but perhaps this is a loss in translation.
    c) paragraph then includes direct contradiction from salon.com interview
    d) the credited article no longer exists

    So let’s look at the credited source, Vita magazine, which is either a woman’s magazine (vitamagazine.ca) or a non-profit weekly (vita.it) concerned with 3rd world issues and European aid levels. Why don’t I know? Well, that’s because the article is gone.

    But the magazine itself isn’t the actual source, or is it’s site. The credited wiki source that actually links the quotes to “Vita” is where the interest lies, http://www.zenit.org – it’s a “non-profit international news agency, made up of a team of professionals and volunteers who are convinced of the extraordinary richness of the Catholic Church’s message, particularly its social doctrine. The ZENIT team sees this message as a light for understanding today’s world.”

    Zenit was founded by Jesús Colina, a prominent Legionarie of Christ, have a google of them. They are an interesting group, one of their tenets is to smear anyone who speaks against the Catholic Church.

    Collina has also written about the Legion of Christ’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, a priest surrounded in scandal and accusations of pedophillia since the 1940s, he was removed from active ministry by Pope Benedict XVI. “The late Pope John Paul II, who once praised his “paternal affection and his experience.” (Washington Post http://www.tinyurl.com/yfwhw33)

    Here’s his wikipedia page for fun too – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcial_Maciel

    All in all, let’s just say the quotation and claims of the incident are from a dubious source.

    (Fun X-files style linking cocnspiracy rant over)

  51. siebenSACHEN vom 31. März 2010 « daniel heinze Says:

    [...] 31. März '10 · Hinterlasse einen Kommentar – Missbrauch I: Sinéad O’Connor ist derzeit Dauergast bei diversen US-Medien (z.B. in der Washington Post)zum Thema Missbrauch in der katholischen Kirche Irlands – wird sie 18 Jahre nach dem “pope incident” von der öffentlichen Meinung rehabilitiert? [...]

  52. Conal Says:

    Colin you may find yourself stalked by an albino monk if you’re not careful :P

  53. El Kid Says:

    @ Philip Alden – rockin’ website dude!

  54. brenda lawless Says:

    Why are you censoring peoples legitimate opinions? Shades of hypocracy I think.

  55. Shii Says:

    Brenda, O’Connor was being falsely accused of hypocrisy by ignorant people who don’t know the difference between an automatically excommunicated woman priest and a Roman Catholic nun. The people who made those posts are likely unfamiliar with Catholicism. I don’t think it’s profitable to spread their misunderstandings.

  56. The Streets Of Dublin Are Dancing :The Longtail Music Catalog Says:

    [...] Isn’t Sinead O’Connor overdue a massive, grovelling apology from absolutely everybody? |… [...]

  57. miconian Says:

    I never thought she was nuts, and I never made fun of her. If you think she’s owed an apology, speak for yourself. Don’t try to drag everyone else down with you.

  58. Eoin Says:

    Curses! my plan to drag Miconian down with me (where?) has been thwarted…

  59. MILLLY Says:

    well done sinead on late late show you look great and keep your head up

  60. roseann Says:

    Well done, great performance tonight on the late, late, the words of the song were so appropriate, lets hope people sit up and take notice

  61. philbrooks Says:

    Id like to second MILLLY post.

    Ive never disagreed with Sinead’s central message I was just often confused by her tactics. However not recently as she has been tremondous in her media appearences.

    Best wishes and best of health Sinead

  62. Ted Fagan Says:

    Pedophilia is NOT why she ripped up the picture. Read the article closely.

    She used a picture of JPII (not Benedict) to represent a church that allowed Magdalene laundries to exist (Google that, I’m not just copping text from the article). She could not have known then what we know now. It was a long while back. I don’t know if URLs are allowed so add this to youtube — watch?v=iYw8JR1N90o

    You can see it was a particular poor performance from a “singer” that was, is, and forever shall be about message over melody. And in the end — she chooses a gesture that puzzled the entire planet. She made zero attempt at the time to explain her nonsequitur.

    The sex abuse scandals broke years later. Sure, it happened much earlier, but to pretend Sinead had a front row seat or even had a slight hint of the allegations would be absurd. She didn’t. It was about Catholic-sponsored violence against young women by what were essentially sweat shops in Ireland.

    Don’t make her some sort of retroactive folk hero. Nobody could even come close to making sense of her dada-esque gesture at the time. Let’s focus on the problem of the existence of the Catholic Church. Forget apologizing to some “artist” pulling an on-air stunt that, years later, has seen fit to write an editorial that people are misreading.

  63. pk Says:

    Great post. Sinead is surely more complicated than all the dismissive caricatures would have had us believe.

    But what isn’t complicated is the unnecessary use of ‘balls’ towards the end of your post. It’s 2010 and I think you know, or would know if you thought about it for a few secs, that there are plenty of other applicable words that could be chosen that wouldn’t be quite so offensive to half the population.

  64. Finn Says:

    I definately agree that sinead is due an apology. Although i am a catholic and love my religion i don’t agree with the vatican and what it stands for. They stand on their throns of wealth and pretend to be the word of god but as far as i was aware jesus was poor so how does this reflect the life of jesus. And the worst sin of all to ignore the pain and hurt of the children of the church. the church needs radical change and it takes people like sinead to make it happen.

  65. graham Says:

    look people i dont know what age you are or even if that has a bearing on this subject,i watched the late late show last night and i must say i was left in tears,not only by the passion of this lady throughout her life and where it stems from,but also by the pure emotion she desplayed when she was signing that song ,The times they are a changing,she knows they are,and so do we.I have something in common with sinead like many others. i dont think for one moment that this is some pr for her.she has been persecuted and ridiculed for her belive,s.so christians and catholics dose that remind you of anyone else you might profess to know…….happy easter everyone and dont forget to eat a nice chocolate egg…sainthood for sinead o connor i say

  66. graham Says:

    join my facebook group…sainthood for sinead o connor

  67. Eoin Says:

    @ Ted – She specified “child abuse” which I think is a fair enough catch-all term for the myriad of abuses committed by the church. In interviews at the time she specifically cited paedophilia. Also your point re: Benedict v JPII is absurd, since the former wouldn’t be Pope for another 13 years.

    Post the YouTube link you’re referring to, your instructions there don’t work. If it goes to Spam I’ll find it and make sure its published.

  68. brenda lawless Says:


  69. Dolly Says:

    Brenda,what does that have to do with your previous comment?

  70. Joffre Says:

    Who needs an apology for doing things for principles they are willing to die (in the figurative, “career”, sense) for & live by?

  71. salve Says:

    I knew Sinead was right…im still her huge fan ..well those who booed her should really apologise…She’s amazing and is very very brave to do that –to risk her whole career and fame… and it was worth it now that people knew she was right…. the damage has been done–many people hurt her ..thru nasty words by the media…called her nuts and treated ..
    she should gain a well RESPECT now….
    WE love you sinead!!!!

  72. Religion-based censorship « Later On Says:

    [...] DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashleigh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were [...]

  73. Radical Muslim Censorship « Nothinboutnothin's Blog Says:

    [...] DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were [...]

  74. Drasties - Dutch on the World - World on the Dutch Says:

    [...] DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were banned by [...]

  75. Salon: Glenn Greenwald: The New York Times’ Muslim problem | MuslimMatters.org Says:

    [...] DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue andAshliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who werebanned by [...]

  76. Media Censorship Is Everywhere (Not Just In South Park) « Light Sound Dimension Says:

    [...] DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were banned by [...]

  77. My Breaking Point « Miscellany101′s Weblog Says:

    [...] DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were banned by [...]

  78. Mike Says:

    “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

    2000 year old institution
    Proclaimed Christ’s Word through the dark ages
    Invented hospitals
    Produced countless saints who worked and died with the poorest of the poor

    Abuse is a human institution. The Church always proclaimed it a sin. Rates of abuse are higher in schools than the Church.

    What does the Church proclaim?
    Chastity and Charity; prudence and temperance. Love.

    “Besides, there is no king,
    be his cause never so spotless,

    can try it out with
    all unspotted soldiers.

    Every subject’s duty
    is the king’s,

    but every subject’s soul
    is his own.”
    -Henry V

  79. peter Says:

    Religion has always divided people against each other and rendered their followers as groveling masses ready to commit crimes in the name of their god. After all, their god is never around to do the dirty work so they have to do it for “Him”.

    Sinead is still deeply religious and thus her confused state of mind persists. If your in touch with the Truth of your own being then their is no confusion. Confusion arises from delusional belief. Hence the masses.

  80. The Truth IS The Truth Says:

    The truth is the truth.

    Simple and inherently so.

    Even moreso today no one really cares about what the truth really is. We’re detached and very selfish mostly caring only about ourselves. No, certainly this description doesn’t apply to everyone but it does apply to a great many!

    Why so many around the world–peoples of all types, all companies, all businesses, all religions, all vocations, all societies etc. etc. etc. why they don’t care at all about the truth is far beyond me???

    When we’re talking about priests and all other members of authority in the Catholic Church who have THEMSELVES committed GREAT MORTAL AND VENIAL SINS/ things/personal situations/the outright evil abuse of each and every one whose sufferings, abuse, and shame are only made much, much, much worse by the lies, deception, coverups, denials, etc. by the abusers.

    The innocent victims are not only abused by the actual incidents but continously abused–abused forever. Adding insult to injury the abuser is almost always protected by ‘their own’ and those abused are made to feel as if they are someone horrible, as a person who has no worth or rights, viewed as being an evil liar (how ironic!), and they continously fight (silent or vocal) for the remainder of their lives.

    Why? A priest can commit these very sins that ‘no one’ is to? They are held to a much different standard? They don’t need to face the justice system or the courts? How can all of this be? IT’S NOT RIGHT! WE KNOW IT!

    Sinead, I can’t thank you enough for the support and for standing up for all of those who cannot for any reason. Thank you for never ending your crusade and your fight for the truth, for the justice, for the love, for everything that is right! I’m happy that you can use your ‘status’ in such positive ways!

    You are a rare and beautiful gem!

    For some odd reason the people who stand up for the truth are almost always dismissed completely and made out to be some crazy individual. The innocent are attacked and so is the messenger. It’s just really sad and pathetic. Honesty is always the best policy but the honest will be persecuted as well.


    Thanks so much!

    Thank you, Eoin Butler!

  81. Rick Says:

    I recall seeing the SNL moment and as a lapsed Catholic found it powerful. Yet even now there are co-workers of mine here in the US who greatly dislike Sinead for that, despite the revelations exploding around us all. Seeing the Mad SG link was fairly emotional for me — what utter and absolute courage shown on the one hand and mastabatory mob bullying on the other!

    We all have our stories. When I listen to Sinead’s voice, her music, the soul of it, I sometimes find myself crying, sometimes raging, sometimes smiling in pleasure, so often thankful for her poet’s song.

    Sinead, thank you.

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  83. The New York Times’ Muslim problem Says:

    [...] DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were [...]

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  86. Steve Regan Says:

    To Ted Fagan, plenty of people knew, why do you think there was such a massive cover up?
    Sinead is a brilliant and brave warrior for her truth which is not constrained by conventional allegiances to the gangs that call themselves organized religion, media networks, governments, and corporations.

  87. Mal Says:

    Eoin – great work. Ms O’Connor is indeed owed an apology especially from the likes of Madonna and Pesci. Revelations of systematic child abuse were starting to surface in Australia back then. I’m sure that they were also breaking in other parts of the world. In reply to people such as Ted – the systematic cover up of great crime by the current Pope and his coworkers in the Church does not warrant forgetfulness or forgiveness. It really is time that the Catholic Church faced up to its responsibilities to its followers and reformed in such a way that these terrible crimes do not happen again. Sinead – you are an inspiration and a hero.

  88. AllForTruth Says:

    Thanks for the post and all the thought-provoking comments. One thing that I think many people miss is how amazingly consistent Sinead has been over the years. Yes, amazingly so! Even in her very earliest interviews, she was exploring how honesty and truth-telling are the artist’s primary – if not only – job. Yes, she has been angry, adversarial, and (gasp) tactless at times. Umm. She IS human, ya know. Also, her fame hit while she was working through her own very abusive childhood, all while in the public eye. BTW, there IS a NOVEMBER 1992 interview from Time/CNN (writer is Janice Simpson) in which Sinead very clearly states that priests in Ireland “have been beating the shit out of the children for years AND sexually abusing them.” Yup. 1992. The writer, for some unfathomable reason, did not pick up on this and run with it. Nor did any other media outlet, apparently. The press and media failed us on that one, not Sinead. Let’s hope that they (and we) don’t let this issue lie anymore. Children deserve absolute protection and artists who commit to truth deserve our respect and attention.

  89. Sebastian Says:

    Thank you everybody here. My heart has swelled with emotion every time i see or hear her, from the first time onward. She’s always come across so genuine and courageous, she has been a great inspiration to me in my life and still is. From early childhood on i have both sensed and experienced the evil in the C. priesthood and went through a lot of frustration with the brainless reactions to my speaking up about it. As a musician, i have found it very depressing how bandmates always seemed to want to just bend over and let the enslaved money bosses wield our band as a cultural influence tool, promoting degeneracy. They’d call me naive and sign it away and I’d quit the band and go on. I’d have felt much more alone and discouraged if not for her presence in my life, helping me stand out from my own center, regardless of outside approval.

    Several times I have turned a toubled, violent, woman fearing/hating male friend on to her music, and began seeing a healing in my friend !!! Her songs also have a healing effect on women who have a victim psychology and have been falling into nasty abusive relationships.

    Saw her at Lollapolooza 95 with tears streaming down my face.
    Saw her in dreams and she kissed me or hugged me or told me something meaningful.

    I just saw her on a stage at a free show in a dream a couple nights ago and she said something unexpected-compassionate-controversial about people with cancer.

    My memory of her always helps me not to become intimidated by police when I have to inform them that they have no jurisdiction over me. Just keeping that feeling of loving, honest, self-respect and mutual respect. With all of their training and flashy gimmicks they fail to intimidate me into bending over and contracting into their bogus no-victim “authority.”

    I can’t think of a more praise-worthy artist in the world!
    And who in the world can sing like she did up thru the early 2000′s ? !!!

    I must say i am VERY worried about her using the antidepressant drugs. They mess up one’s natural emotional processes and have very dangerous side-effects!! see for example “drugawareness.org” There are better alternatives, such as quitting cigarettes and practicing excellent health habits and getting lots of excercise, rest, water, quality air, and detoxifying with raw food diet, etc. It brings me sorrow to hear the damage from the cigarettes in your voice Sinead !!.

    However i also must say her voice also sounds gorgeous the way it is now. I think i hear deep vivid colors in it! Dark green and purple especially. Each new album I fall in love.


  90. Billy Says:

    Mannix Flynn an actor and politican in Ireland who went to the hell hole that was the Letterfrack industrial school in Galway in Ireland was also laughed at when he made the same allegations 20 years back. The catholic church is a corrupt and out moded organisation that is more concerned with clinging on to its land and power and giving to s**ts about the people.

    The catholic churches obsession with guilt and its retarded idea of sexuality basically manifested itself in the abuse and rape of children. The worst insult ever was the last Irish government of corrupt me-feiners making the Irish taxpayer help pay the victims of church sponsored rape. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH should have sold some of its millions of acres of land to do this.

    its great the catholic church in Ireland has finally lost its grip on the populace but a deep shame it has taken the exposure of systematic child rape to do so.

    oh yeah and Joe Pesci, what an annoying little pip squeak.

    Good on ya Sinead. Go girl.

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  92. Derrick Kardos Says:

    God yes.

  93. Sinead Says:

    Dear Eoin

    Whilst I appreciate ur lovely article can u please
    Remove the absolutely fake, false, outlandish
    And untrue allegation u make that I ‘outed myself
    As the mastermind behind the September 11th
    Attacks.. ‘ I have never in all my life heard anything
    So outrageous or scurrilousor false said about me. This did
    Not happen. How ever ‘mental’ I may ever have
    Been I certainly absolutely never made such a

  94. Eoin Says:

    Hey Sinead

    Thanks for getting in touch. You might recall we spoke about this two years ago. The key word there is “spoof”.



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  96. Kiki Says:

    As a victim of childhood clergy abuse, I knew exactly what Sinead was doing on SNL. I really admired her courage and strength for speaking out. I was deeply saddened by people’s reactions at the time. Instead of opening a conversation, celebrities mocked her, the public vilified and booed her, the focus was on hating her and not listening to her message.

    Looking back now, I see that her message was not exactly clear to everyone (though believe me, it was more than crystal clear to myself). The furor she stirred up – righteously so – came to cloud her message.

    Short answer: yes, everyone owes this woman an apology.

  97. mary Jo Says:

    Absolutely, she is a hero to all that were abused! The popes have hidden the abuse. It appalls me how people bad mouthed JoePa for not doing enough, even on his death bed. Those people probably do not have the same to say to the pope, this one of past ones. Not only did they KNOW, but the hid it, denied it and damned those that claimed it to be true! They say JoePa did it to save PennState football and yes he was wrong, BUT the catholic church is FAR MORE WRONG!!! Thank you Sinead!!!! All those that spoke against you and booed you, shall go to their grave KNOWING that what you said was true and the are almost as guilty as if they abused the kids themselves! The church STILL has not accepted full guilt and never will! And I personally KNOW it is NOT just the Catholic church!

  98. Conor Says:

    She was an idiot. Just trying to make a name for herself. She was a lost soul. Hope she finds the truth.

  99. Carolyn Says:

    Totally agree with you here, Conor. No, nobody owes Sinead O’Connor an apology for giving her a piece of their own minds for her disgusting display on SNL!!!

    Pope JP II was, is, & will always be recognized for the great religious leader that he was. All too often Christianity –& Catholicism especially –has been downgraded in the media & the public square, & so the average everyday citizen stood up to it when they finally all had the chance.

    This wasn’t about the denunciation of the clerical abuse committed by priests. This was just another crazy pop singer trying to make herself look cool by attacking a very Holy figure whom the entire world loved, even outside the Catholic Church.

  100. Jon Says:

    I don’t think Carolyn and Conor have ever suffered the horror that Sinead did growing up in Ireland, otherwise they wouldn’t dismiss her as trying to ‘make a name for herself’ (despite this being done at time when it wasn’t mentioned at all, but I don’t think logic is something that registers on their radars).

    Carolyn and Conor are attempting to justify abuse. Sinead was the first one to bravely stand-up and say something about this injustice. Apart from make a few anonymous comments online what have they done?

    Despicable cowards.

  101. The Cat Says:

    You’re bloody right! Respect to Sinead.

  102. Duke Rourschach Says:

    I was watching that night and having known a bit of what she was pointing at I still didn’t give her credit and Now THANK YOU Sinead and I’m SORRY We didn’t stand up as Bravely as you did that took REAL BRAVERY AND SELFLESSNESS and I’m PROUD OF YOU and Hope that We can ALL be there for you like you were there for us TRUE BEAUTY INSIDE AND OUT THANK YOU••DUKE R.••

  103. Serendipity Says:

    Knowing now how Catholic church misbehaved for many years and covered up their criminal misdoing I understand the anger expressed by Sinaed tearing up the pope.

    Many people hurt will have known what she meant, many more were ignorant. Where Dylan has protested many wrongdoings, one would expect his audience to be more reflective. Apparently in Madison they were just ignorant. I feel sorry for the very talented young woman that took a stand and I feel ashamed for how she was treated

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