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Sinéad O’Connor will never appear again on ‘misogynistic’ BBC radio’s Woman’s Hour show after ‘crazy woman in pop’s attic’ question


Sinéad O'Connor: Photo: David Conachy

Sinéad O'Connor: Photo: David Conachy

Sinead O'Connor. Photo: David Conachy.

Sinead O'Connor. Photo: David Conachy.


Sinéad O'Connor: Photo: David Conachy

Singer Sinéad O’Connor has said she found the tone of an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour to be “extremely offensive and even misogynistic”.  

She appeared on the show yesterday morning, when she was interviewed by Emma Barnett as part of a promotional campaign for her new book, Rememberings.

However, she was left “less than impressed” with the nature of the questions during the interview and said it was “one invalidating question or statement after another”.

The 54-year-old said she will never appear on the high-profile slot again.

O’Connor took particular exception to Barnett quoting a piece by a British music critic who said she had been pursued by her reputation as “the crazy woman in pop’s attic”.

Asked if she felt a male artist would have been judged differently, O’Connor said she found it “a bit extreme to make the Jane Eyre comparison”.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been perceived as the crazy woman in the attic as represented in Jane Eyre,” she said. “It’s not like I’m attacking people with knives or trying to strangle anyone or wandering around in my nightdress.”

The singer said that living with a mental health condition was like “having two broken legs, but everyone expects you to walk normal”.

“If you show symptoms and you don’t walk normal, people are going to knock you over,” she said.

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“The British press like to make me out to be mental, they always have done.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’m Irish or what, but to compare me to the mad wife in Jane Eyre is abusive.”

O’Connor, who is a new Sunday Independent columnist, said having a hit record also “derailed” her in a way as it moved her away from her original inspirations when she started out.

“It depends how you define success – I don’t define success as to whether people like me, of having tonnes of money or fame,” she said. “To me, success is about artistic integrity and carrying on the lessons I learned of artists who inspired me.”

On speaking openly about her mental health battles, she said artists “don’t do embarrassment”.

“We don’t hide anything. Singers are by nature emotionally honest,” she said.

The interview also delved into O’Connor’s controversial ripping up of a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live in 1992 and asked if, at the time, she was scared about doing it.

“Irish artists are kind of different. We felt our job was to create conversation where it’s needed and then run,” she said. “In that regard, I was excited to do my job as an artist.”

O’Connor also hit back at suggestions there was a “reckoning happening in the music industry in terms of its treatment of women”.

“I don’t believe that. American women, some of them you would think they were Donald Duck. They’re on stage with no pants on. It’s like a requirement,” she said.

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