Alt-folk singer and self-proclaimed hillbilly Michelle Shocked went on a vicious, anti-gay rant during her concert at Yoshi's on Sunday, infuriating fans with comments like "God hates fags," and causing the venue to pull the plug on her show.
Now, a petition is circulating online urging the other venues hosting Shocked's current tour to cancel their dates -- and it's having some success. So far, nine venues in cities like Santa Cruz, Seattle, Portland, Boulder, and Novato have canceled Shocked's upcoming shows, after John Becker of Burlington, Vt., gained national attention with his petition. Here's an excerpt from the Change.org document, which currently has 1,854 supporters:
Freedom of speech and artistic expression are critically important, but this isn't free speech. This is hate speech. And in a world where LGBT people are bullied from the pulpit, on the playground, and at the polls, anti-gay hate speech can have serious consequences including legitimizing bullying and hate crimes, and increasing victims' risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide.
Apparently it's working. Here's what one venue, SPACE in Evanston, Ill., posted on its Facebook page:
Many of you have reached out already following an ugly rant given by Michelle Shocked at her show in San Francisco last night. After speaking with the promoter of that show about the nature of the remarks, it's clear that this is no longer a show we're willing to put our name on. The May 5th performance at SPACE has been cancelled and refunds will be issued at point of purchase.
Nine venues have canceled Shocked's shows, while two have yet to respond, according to Change.org: Harmony Bar in Madison, Wis., and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado. We'll be, um, surprised if that doesn't change soon.