Sinead O’Connor retracts retirement announcement as she attacks BBC over ‘hurtful’ interview

·3-min read
<p>Sinead O’Connor in 2019</p> (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Sinead O’Connor in 2019

(Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Sinead O’Connor has backtracked on her announcement that she is retiring from music, at the same time as condemning BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and branding its presenter Emma Barnett “a female misogynist”.

On Tuesday (1 June), the Irish singer-songwriter appeared on Woman’s Hour to promote her new memoir, Rememberings. During the interview, Barnett enquired about O’Connor having four children from four different men, and referenced a newspaper article in which a journalist described O’Connor as “the crazy woman in pop’s attic”.

In the days after the interview, O’Connor announced that she had pulled all further press for her book, and that she was retiring from the music industry. Today (8 June), O’Connor retracted her retirement claim while hitting out at Barnett and the UK press.

“It was unnecessary and hurtful for Woman’s Hour of all people to remind me of the awfully abusive statement written about me by an Irish man for a UK paper some years ago, representing me as the Jane Eyre-esquires [sic] ‘madwoman in the attic’,” O’Connor wrote on Twitter. “Hardly surprising the same BBC who enabled and facilitated and then covered up Jimmy Saville, has cleverly employed female misogynists to control Woman’s Hour, so very clever.”

Connor continued: “Barnett dares to suggest that ‘Oh, aren’t we much better now about discussing mental health’. No, Bitch. Because if we were you wouldn’t have dragged up the madwoman in the attic scenario. Of all the s**t you could have got off Google that was it? No questions about songs?

“I don’t really give a f*** if the psychopaths running the BBC listen to this or not. Or even if you, Emma, do. What matters more is I say it on behalf of all women who are legally vulnerable as a result of violent trauma. Or emotional and psychological abuse ... If things were in any way improving re: stigma, which is a murderer, you wouldn’t be presenting that show. Which should actually be renamed Pigs in Lipstick. Or Fuggin Female Misogynists.”

O’Connor added that she had been treated like a “Russian dancing bear” during interviews for her new book, and that numerous journalists in the UK, Ireland and Canada had asked questions about traumatic incidents from her childhood. That was despite, O’Connor wrote, requests made to journalists asking them to not ask questions that may “trigger” her.

Sinead O’Connor in 2019 (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
Sinead O’Connor in 2019 (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

She said that announcing her retirement was a “knee jerk reaction”, and that she will tour in 2022.

“I lied when I said I’m past my peak,” she wrote. “Ain’t no such f***ing thing … I’m not gonna retire. I’m gonna keep on being fabulous.”

In a statement to The Independent, a spokesperson for BBC Radio said: “During an interview about her new book, Sinead O’Connor was talking about her mental health and was asked what she made of a comment by a music critic reviewing her book in recent days.”

You can read The Independent’s review of Rememberings here.

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