Eminem has been criticised after comparing himself to the Manchester Arena suicide bomber.
His track Unaccommodating, taken from his new album Music to Be Murdered By, includes controversial lyrics that appear to make light of the 2017 terror attack. Twenty-two people were murdered as they left an Ariana Grande concert after Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the foyer of the music venue.
In the track, the star raps: “But I’m contemplating yelling ‘bombs away’ on the game / Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.”
Hours after its release, the musician faced a backlash on social media. The mother of 15-year-old Charlotte Hodgson, who died in the attack, called the track “disgusting” and “disrespectful”.
Meanwhile, Figen Murray, whose 29-year-old son Martyn Hett died in the attack, called the song “pointless”.
“Feels like he is piggybacking on the fame of Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and says distasteful things about other celebrities,” she wrote on Twitter. “Not clever. Totally pointless. And before all Eminem fans pounce on me, I am not interested and will not engage.”
Murray has campaigned for the introduction of Martyn’s Law, which would require venues to introduce more stringent security checks.
Elkan Abrahamson, a solicitor for several of the bereaved families, said: “Eminem is a traitor to his talent; this is disrespectful, unwarranted and needlessly cruel.”
Others agreed, with many Twitter users saying they were disgusted by the lyrics and that it was “a pathetic attempt to get attention”.
“I am disgusted how did he or his team think this was okay? He’s trash,” one user wrote. Another said: “The fact that Eminem made a joke about the Manchester attack in his song makes me sick. He can’t get out of this one. He fully said her name and can’t deny it at all. Disgusting. How insensitive do you have to be to say something like this.”
One user called on the rapper to show some respect to those who had died and been injured: “This is so messed up! Many people (mostly children) were injured at this concert and some even lost their lives, and he thinks it’s OK to put this lyric in a song? @Eminem maybe try and have a little respect, and don’t use a terrorist attack to gain clout.”
It is the second time the rapper has referenced the Manchester arena bombing in his lyrics. In a 2018 freestyle battle rap, with a spoken caveat at the beginning that “nothing’s off limits” to get a reaction from the crowd, he rapped:
“Squashed in between a brainwashing machine
Like an Islamic regime, a jihadist extreme radical
Suicide bomber that’s seeing
Ariana Grande sing her last song of the evening
And as the audience from the damn concert is leaving
Detonates the device strapped to his abdominal region
I’m not gonna finish that, for obvious reasons”
Elsewhere in Unaccommodating, he compares himself to Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini, and also references the September 11 attacks.
The album is the musician’s 11th full-length release, and his third album in three years. It features guest stars including Ed Sheeran, Q-Tip and late rapper Juice WRLD, who died aged 21 in December.