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Legislator Urges Boycott Over Sinead's Anthem Ban

August 28, 1990|From Times Wire Services

A New York state legislator has called for a boycott of Sinead O'Connor's Wednesday night show at the Performing Arts Center in Saratoga, N.Y., in the continuing uproar of the Irish singer's refusal to have the national anthem played before her concert.

O'Connor refused to go onstage Friday night at the Garden State Arts Center in New Jersey until officials caved in and dropped plans to play "The Star-Spangled Banner." The center, which is owned by the State of New Jersey and always starts its shows by the playing of the national anthem, later said that O'Connor will not be allowed to perform there again.

New York state Sen. Nicholas Spano is so upset by O'Connor's action that he's urging people to stay away from the Saratoga show. "I'm sure Ms. O'Connor would be the first to complain if someone tried to censor her performance," he said, "yet she is trying to censor the national anthem by refusing to perform where it is played."

But O'Connor, in a statement Monday, said she meant no disrespect.

"I sincerely harbor no disrespect for America or Americans, but I have a policy of not having any national anthems played before my concerts in any country, including my own, because they have nothing to do with music in general," she said.

She added: "I am concerned though, because today, we're seeing other artists arrested at their own concerts . . . There is a disturbing trend towards censorship of music and art in this country and people should be alarmed over that far more than my actions on Friday."

She was alluding to the recent arrest of the rap group 2 Live Crew in Florida because their lyrics were allegedly obscene.

Singer Frank Sinatra, however, was disturbed by O'Connor. He appeared at the Garden State Arts Center on Saturday and was reported to have told the audience he wished he could meet her so he "could kick her in the ass."

He was also reported to have advised her to leave the country because her actions are "unforgivable." He added, amid thunderous applause, "For her sake, we'd better never meet."

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