Michelle Shocked received a rather bad shock of her own after her Sunday concert had the plug pulled after almost the entire audience walked out. What would cause such a walk out? Well…such a horrible shock that is what. Shocked gave a rant about same-sex marriage being the end of the civilization as we know it.
Shocked is best known for her support of liberal causes, so her decision to stop being a Liberal Folk Singer and start being a Fire-and-Brimstone preacher. The transformation certainly did not do well with her fans who tend to be a bit Left leaning. . .and worse, she was doing this in the heart of San Fracisco at Yoshi’s. Finally, the operator there pulled the plug announcing that, as a gay man, he could not allow the show to continue, and that Shocked would have to leave the stage.
She had been engaging well with her fans before then- even asking them to choose what songs she would sing via Twitter…which ended up being a bit of a problem as Twitter ended up being where her former fans ended up turning.
Shocked ranted before her second set was set to begin about the evils of Prop 8 being overturned, and even cited the Old Testament. She even told the crowd that they “could go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates f–s’.” Some were not sure what had happened and took what she said as irony, but many saw it as sincere.
Matt Penfield, who has been invited up to act as Shocked’s intermediary on Twitter, was so outraged when things went south that he left and joined the people in the lobby. In fact he even got to chat with her for a while. He told Yahoo! Music that:
“It was a very painful experience to go through. To be that close to someone who is clearly having a breakdown of some sort is not an emotionally comfortable place to be. I’m still a little bit shaken up. And I don’t like to see people vilified. I still love her music and I’m not going to delete her from my playlist or go smash CDs. But if she has made a conscious decision that she is going to use the stage to espouse beliefs that are hateful and damage groups of people, she probably should not be charging money for a concert. If she wants to sit on a panel at a conference or go to a religious festival, I think in that context she should say whatever she wants. But I do think that doing it as a bait-and-switch at a concert performance is really unfair and not showing respect to people.”
Penfield wondered if this was deliberate and feels that Shocked may have chosen to do this deliberately in San Francisco to have the most impact.
Penfield also stated “Michelle came on stage and seemed visibly anxious and nervous, and took the mike and said that she was really scared and afraid, and that she didn’t really know how the show was going to go— which seemed a little unusual,” recalled Penfield. “At one point in the first set she even said, ‘You all seem very nice, but I’ve been in rooms of nice people before and sometimes they turn on you.’ That was a throwaway line, but one that seemed siginifcant later. After the first set I went backstage with her to the green room and she said that she had been terrified coming up from L.A. because it was going to be a big deal for her to play this show. You can deconstruct from what happened later what she was referring to. In retrospect, it seems clear that this whole thing was premeditated—if not the exact language she used, then that this was where the show was eventually going to go.”
It actually shouldn’t be surprising. In 2008, Shocked told The Edge that “I’m here to say not that homosexuality is wrong. I’m here to say that there is reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ for every human being on the face of this earth. And no one is entitled to speak on God’s behalf and say who does and who doesn’t have that right. Because that price was paid—purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ… Homosexuality is no more or less a sin than fornication. And I’m a fornicator with a capital F.”
In the end, she may find out that her decision to rant about homosexuality is going to end her career.