Lady Gaga has had a rough couple of weeks. What should have been a celebratory kick-off to her “Born This Way Ball” has been marred in controversy, as the pop superstar has encountered protests from religious groups at nearly every turn.
The tour’s first show in Seoul, South Korea, was marred by protests from Christian groups saying Mother Monster was “obscene” and could “taint” young people with her performance. The protestors even managed to get the Korea Media Rating Board to elevate the age rating for the concert from 12 to 18, prohibiting minors from seeing the show.
She encountered similar troubles in the Philippines, where her May 21 and 22 concerts in Manila were met with similar derision from Christian groups claiming her lyrics are blasphemous and that the sentiment behind songs like “Born this Way” promotes “promiscuity” and homosexuality. A few days before the first concert, anti-riot police were forced to stop hundreds of protestors from descending on the venue. Gaga responded to the hubbub today on Twitter, saying, “And don’t worry, if I get thrown in jail in Manila, Beyonce will just bail me out. Sold out night 2 in the Philippines. I love it here!”
Then there is her planned June 3 show in Indonesia, which is entirely different animal in that the show is courting not only protests and governmental interference, but Gaga is being threatened with violence by radical Islamic groups in the country. “The Jakarta situation is 2-fold: Indonesian authorities demand I censor the show & religious extremist separately, are threatening violence,” Gaga tweeted earlier today.
She’s responded briefly on the controversies on Twitter, but now the pop star finally addressed the controversy at length. During her concert today in Manila, Gaga spoke to the audience about the protests, saying, “I just feel like, you know, so many people have been protesting and it really doesn’t bother me truly because I know that there has to be change, but for all those kids all over the world that take their lives when they’re so young because they feel bullied or they’re afraid because they’re gay and they don’t want to tell anybody, don’t you think that some of us should stand up and say the god**n truth?”
Read on to see the video and read Gaga’s in-concert statement in full.
“I know that everybody, you know, thinks that I stand for, well not everybody, not everybody, I shouldn’t say that, but some people think that I stand for like, really inappropriate things that are really bad for… Listen, I am slightly irresponsible, let’s be honest, okay? It’s okay. But they’re not completely right and the truth is I want the fucking best for you. I want the best for every single one of you. I love you with all of my heart and all my soul, I really do, and all the things that I think about and the way that I am, it’s my lifestyle, it’s just part of this one big giant performance art statement of liberation. So, I hope that you feel tonight, as free as your hair. And to those of you that don’t feel free, take the best opportunity to free yourselves.
I just feel like, you know, so many people have been protesting and it really doesn’t bother me truly because I know that there has to be change, but for all those kids all over the world that take their lives when they’re so young because they feel bullied or they’re afraid because they’re gay and they don’t want to tell anybody, don’t you think that some of us should stand up and say the godd**mn truth? It’s true. It’s not about the music, it’s not about, it’s not about anything, it’s not about my clothes, it’s not about having a hit record, it’s the fucking goddamn truth that people in the world need to be free of who they are and be proud and feel valuable no matter where they are.”
Stay safe, Mother Monster!