In the middle of a gig at Yoshi's in San Francisco, Michelle Shocked delivered a show-stopper: An anti-gay rant that could have come from Westboro Baptist Church
March 19, 2013

Singer Michelle Shocked stunned her audience on Monday night when she began her second set with an anti-Prop 8, homophobic rant that sounded like something at a Westboro Baptist Church protest:

From all accounts, the first set had gone great, but when Shocked returned for the second set, she began talking about the evils that will result if California's Proposition 8 is overturned by the courts, to allow gay marriage in the state. Shocked cited verses from the Old Testament condemning homosexuality, first in English and then, puzzlingly, in Spanish. She even told the crowd that they "could go on Twitter and say 'Michelle Shocked says God hates f--s'," although that particular line was interpreted differently by some on hand, as either ironic or completely sincere.

The tweets that came from her account during the Yoshi's show were actually made by a patron named Matt Penfield, who'd been invited up during the uneventful first set to act as Shocked's Twitter intermediary. When things started to go very badly in the second set, Penfield not only left the stage but exited the auditorium to mill in the lobby with other confused and outraged fans who were trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Shocked's rant was a show-stopper in the literal sense. Yoshi's management asked Shocked to leave the stage, telling the audience "that as a gay man, he could not allow the show to continue and she would have to leave the stage."

Fans were shocked and disappointed. Many tweets looked like this one from Chris Savage at Eclectablog:

Others were more vile, wishing violence and death on her, though other people on Twitter were pushing back on those with some regularity.

Shocked was scheduled to appear at McCabe's on Saturday night, but the show was cancelled when McCabe's got wind of Monday's meltdown. A petition has been created to urge equality-minded venues to cancel upcoming dates.

I'm certain the Right Wing Free Speech brigade will hail Shocked as their new heroine, and perhaps that was their plan.

Mind you, this is a performer who once started a video by spray-painting an anarchy symbol on a sidewalk... whose most famous album cover shows her being held by police in a chokehold... who has spoken out against George W. Bush and other Republicans as forcefully as Steve Earle or any other avowedly liberal singer... and who was recently arrested at an Occupy protest.

At the beginning of the show, "Michelle came on stage and seemed visibly anxious and nervous, and took the mike and said that she was really scared and afraid, and that she didn’t really know how the show was going to go— which seemed a little unusual," recalled Penfield. "At one point in the first set she even said, 'You all seem very nice, but I’ve been in rooms of nice people before and sometimes they turn on you.' That was a throwaway line, but one that seemed siginifcant later.

If FreedomWorks hires her as their house act and sends her out on tour, or if you see her on the stage with Ralph Reed, you'll know why she was nervous. People sell their souls for all sorts of reasons, after all.

But if that doesn't happen and it's really just that she found a weird, hating Jesus somewhere in her closet, then all I can say is that I hope she gets help.

Michelle Shocked is either having a mental breakdown, or she's joined the ranks of people she decried for years.

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