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Singer Michelle Shocked, perhaps best known for her 1990s alternative folk-rock tunes including "Anchorage," stunned her fans at a San Francisco concert on Sunday night with an anti-homosexuality rant, according to several sources.
"When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back," Shocked said, according to concert attendee and reviewer James Patterson from The Bay Area Reporter. "I believe the Bible is the word of God."
Though her first hour-plus set at Yoshi's at the Fillmore went off without incident, at one point Shocked paused to read some tweets and, after hearing a request for a gospel song, said "I love me some Jesus." After an intermission, she returned for the second set and began her much-discussed rant to the audience. Then, after offering up a prayer in Spanish and English, she told the crowd, "You are going to leave here and tell people 'Michelle Shocked said God hates f------s.'"
Management ended the show after that, according to Patterson, cutting off her microphone and stage lights, though Shocked "continued to sing for her few remaining fans," he noted.
Since her rant, multiple venues have canceled planned shows by Shocked. Meander's Kitchen in Seattle wrote on its Facebook page: "Meander's Kitchen will not be hosting Michelle Shocked for her April 26th performance in Seattle due to her homophobic performance in San Francisco last night, during which she actually said 'God Hates F---.' " The venue added that it would be hosting a benefit for its favorite gay youth organizations instead that evening.
Music magazine Billboard confirmed on Tuesday that 10 out of 11 of her upcoming shows have since been canceled by venues that had been set to host the musician.
Fans have gone on the offensive against Shocked on Twitter. Noted @LisaHubbert, "It's clear she's had a breakdown. Her career is over, so she's gotten what is deserved." Added Matt Penfield (@TheGuapo), who had been live-tweeting the show from the stage, "Very hard to make sense out of what happened. Feels like we were (very briefly) emotional hostages."
Part of the outrage stems from Shocked's long history as both a musician and a personality; throughout her career she's kept her sexuality ambiguous and only occasionally directly addressed lesbianism (as in a 1990 interview in Outlines). Over the years she's developed a strong following among the LGBT community. But in an interview with gay newspaper the Dallas Voice in 2008 spoke about sexual politics and being born-again.
"There are some inconvenient truths that I’m now a born again, sanctified, saved-in-the-blood Christian. So much of what’s said and done in the name of that Christianity is appalling," she was quoted as saying. "According to my Bible, which I didn’t write, homosexuality is immoral. But homosexuality is no more or less a sin than fornication. And I’m a fornicator with a capital F."
Later, she added, "I like the sound of being called an honorary lesbian."
Still, while fans were clearly taken aback by her recent on-stage outburst, this isn't the first time Shocked has taken her evolving beliefs to a microphone: In 2011 during the Wild Goose Festival, a British music event designed for LGBT Christians, she was asked about her "position on homosexuality" by an audience member.
"Who drafted me as a gay icon?" Shocked shot back, according to ReligionDispatches.org, which covered the event. "You are looking at the world's greatest homophobe. Ask God what He thinks." Shocked then shut off her microphone and said, "There is always someone who wants to catch me."
Meanwhile, there's at least one fan who thinks she hasn't lost all of her chance at public redemption: "All it would take is one 'oops--my bad I didn't mean that and don't believe in hate or hellfire' to clear the air," tweeted Penfield.
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This story was originally published on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:20 PM EDT