After launching into an anti-gay tirade onstage at Yoshi's in San Francisco Sunday night, alt-folk singer Michelle Shocked unleashed a torrent of backlash that looks like an apparent career suicide. The fallout of Shocked's comments so far:
Eight ten venues from Los Angeles to Seattle to Chicago have all canceled upcoming dates on her "25 Years of Short Sharp Shocked" tour or obliterated her name from their calendars entirely.
With the remainder of Shocked's American tour now missing from venue lineups across the country, the backlash even hit her Wikipedia page for a short time, where editors briefly updated her page to call her a "bigot" and a "closeted lesbian." Those changes have since been removed, but even her booking agent — who says she hasn't worked with Shocked in over four years — has distanced herself from her former client's comments.
Shocked has something of a reputation for flip-flopping on her own role within the gay community: She once came out as a lesbian before joining the West Angeles Church of God in the mid-'90s. In 2008 she said in an interview with a gay newspaper in Dallas that would be "honored" to be called an "honorary lesbian" despite her born-again Christian status, but reversed her stance again in 2011 saying, "Who drafted me as a gay icon? You are looking at the world’s greatest homophobe. Ask God what He thinks.”
As SFist noted yesterday, the timing of Shocked's comments seemed deliberate, as though the singer wasn't so much celebrating the 25th anniversary of her album as she was intentionally making a scene in the lead-up to Supreme Court decisions on California's same-sex marriage ban and the Defense of Marriage Act.