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Morrissey (born Steven Patrick Morrissey in 1959) is an English singer and songwriter who was lead singer of The Smiths and later a solo performer. Throughout his career, but increasingly in recent years, he has made controversial or questionable statements, both in his lyrics and in public pronouncements, on topics such as animal rights and race and immigration. He has recently been sympathetic to far-right views such as opposition to immigration despite his (batshit but leftist) environmentalist viewpoints.
Morrissey has for many years been a supporter of animal rights and vegetarianism, with a Smiths album called Meat is Murder. He is closely involved with the controversial campaigning organisation PETA, including on their campaign "Holidays Are Murder For Turkeys". He has also criticised other issues including bullfighting.
He has however attracted criticism for comparing meat-eating to a variety of other crimes including paedophilia and to the death camps at Auschwitz. Such comparisons are not popular with many groups: the Anti-Defamation League said, "The effort by PETA to compare the deliberate systematic murder of millions of Jews to the issue of animal rights is abhorrent". While some radical vegetarians and vegans have compared the Holocaust to farming of animals, veganism does not require the belief that human and animal lives are of equal value.
Opposition to immigration
He has criticised immigration, blaming it for the disappearance of the English or British identity. "Although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous. Travel to England and you have no idea where you are. It matters because the British identity is very attractive. I grew up into it and I find it very quaint and amusing. Other countries have held on to their basic identity, yet it seems to me that England was thrown away." He insists this isn't racism. Morrissey's parents were both Irish people who migrated to England before his birth.
In a 1992 interview he said that he did not "really think, for instance, black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other". He did not appear to think this was a good thing, merely that it was true.
When music magazine NME accused him of being racist or having racist views, he sued them, and after 5 years, the NME apologised to him in 2012.
Various songs have been interpreted as being supportive of far-right ideas. "The National Front Disco" (2002) describes a young man who becomes involved with the National Front, a racist organisation, and features the repeated line "England for the English".
In 1992 he was accused by music magazine the NME of flirting with fascist imagery after appearing on stage wrapped in a Union Jack flag; there were reportedly members of far-right organisations in the audience.
In 2018 he took issue with people throwing around accusations of racism, while claiming that Adolf Hitler was left wing (and saying only left-wingers accuse him of racism). This was him presumably trying to accuse his enemies of being Nazis.
He has declared himself a supporter of anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters, formerly of UKIP and later founder of For Britain. He has said she is "like a humane version of Thatcher ... if such a concept could be. She is absolute leadership, she doesn't read from a script, she believes in British heritage, freedom of speech, and she wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law."
He has also criticised Sadiq Khan, the Muslim mayor of London, for not being able to "talk properly", such as saying "policin'" rather than "policing".
Combining animal rights and Islam, he has been highly critical of halal meat. He condemned the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha for featuring the slaughter of animals (as mentioned, he has also condemned turkey-based festivities in the west); he was critical of Theresa May who called Eid al-Adha a "joyous celebration". May's comment was the sort of meaningless comment politicians make regularly throughout the year, rather than an opinion that killing animals is inherently joyous.
Calling for execution of Margaret Thatcher and others
His 1988 solo album Viva Hate included the song "Margaret on the Guillotine", which appears to be in favour of executing Margaret Thatcher, who was then Prime Minister of the UK.
His song "November Spawned A Monster" has been accused of mocking the disabled; however others say it is written from the point of view of a disabled woman, and is opposed to condescension to people with disabilities.
In contrast he has been praised for his support for other people with disabilities. While in The Smiths, he sometimes wore a hearing aid. This is thought by some to be an act of sympathy with a fan who needed a hearing aid, although others have interpreted it as an example of "disability chic" or a reference to the singer Johnny Ray, who had hearing damage.
Mild criticism of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon
This may or may not have attracted boos and walk-outs at a concert in Glasgow.
- See the Wikipedia article on Morrissey.
- Morrissey teams up with PETA for ‘Holidays Are Murder On Turkeys’ campaign, NME, 1 Nov 2017
- ‘The Bullfighter Dies’: Exclusive Morrissey Song Hits Out at Cruel Sport Ahead of Pamplona, PETA UK, 3 July 2014
- Morrissey: 'I see no difference between eating animals and paedophilia', The Independent (UK), 3 Jan 2014
- Morrissey in meat, Auschwitz parallel, Times of Israel, 5 Jan 2014
- Morrissey blames immigration for 'disappearance' of British identity, The Independent, 29 Nov 2007
- Morrissey to receive apology from NME, The Guardian, 12 June 2012
- See the Wikipedia article on The National Front Disco.
- Morrissey talks racism, ‘left-wing’ Hitler and says that ‘Sadiq Khan can not talk properly’, NME, 17 April 2018
- Morrissey expresses sympathy for jailed EDL founder Tommy Robinson, The Guardian, 7 June 2018
- Morrissey denounces halal meat as 'evil', and attacks May, Khan, Abbott and more, The Guardian, 17 April 2018
- Morrissey denies ‘sympathising with paedophilia and rape’ in new vlog against his ‘haters’, NME, 18 Dec 2017
- "November Spawned A Monster", Songfacts, accessed 3 May 2018
- Mozipedia: The Encyclopaedia of Morrissey and the Smiths, Simon Goddard, p161
- Morrissey fans 'walk out of show' after singer mocks Nicola Sturgeon, The Independent, 19 Feb 2018