“Are you ready for a little controversy?” a nearly unrecognizable Madonna said when she took the stage as a surprise presenter at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, holding a riding crop in one hand and a microphone in the other.
“Here’s what I learned after four decades in music,” she continued. “If they call you shocking, scandalous, troublesome, problematic, provocative, or dangerous, you’re definitely onto something.” When that line got no reaction from the star-studded crowd, she added, “That’s where you make noise.”
Madonna ultimately got what she wanted after Sam Smith and Kim Petras took the stage to perform their Grammy-winning song “Unholy”, which included Smith donning a top hat with devil horns on it as flames rose up around them.
That alone—not to mention the fact that Smith is gender nonbinary and Petras is a transgender woman—would have been enough to get America’s pearl-clutching conservatives up in arms. But what really seems to have them outraged is what happened after the performance when the Grammys cut to commercial by highlighting that the show was “sponsored by Pfizer.”
“The Grammy’s featured Sam Smith’s demonic performance and was sponsored by Pfizer,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweeted Monday morning, before adding in some fear-mongering about a “Satantic” abortion clinic. “American Christians need to get to work.”
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk made a similar observation during the show the night before. “The Devil. Brought to you by Pfizer,” he wrote alongside an image of Smith’s performance.
And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went with a more direct “This…is…evil” message on Twitter after the Grammys had ended.
There were dozens more concern-troll messages like those across social media on Monday, with conservative commentators declaring that “Pfizer and Hollywood deserve each other” and even stretching to tie the vaccine-producing company’s sponsorship to First Lady Jill Biden’s role as Song of the Year presenter.
As for the concept behind the performance, Petras told reporters in the Grammy press room that it grew out of the fact that people have “labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as religiously not cool.”
“I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it, but then slowly realizing it doesn’t want me to be a part of it,” she said. “So it’s a take on not being able to choose religion and not being able to live the way that people might want you to live, because, you know, as a trans person, I’m kind of already not wanted in religion.”
Of course, the irony is that if these religious conservatives had watched the Grammys through to its conclusion, they would have seen Jay-Z deliver an extended rap verse praising God.
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