Sinead OConnors director slams backlash Irish singer faced for pope stunt

Sinead O’Connor dies aged 56

The director of the documentary Nothing Compares has heavily criticised the “disgraceful” and “horrendous” treatment singer Sinead O’Connor was forced to endure in the 1990s after tearing up a photograph of the pope on television.

Speaking on Thursday’s BBC Breakfast about the late singer’s legacy, Nothing Compares filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson explained: “I think she really cut through the noise.

“I think she sang from the heart and was incredibly authentic with all that she did and I think she really reached people in every corner of the world.

“She had a really emotional, profound effect on people and I think that is what really drew people to her initially.”

Reflecting on when Sinead “used her platform to speak out” as an activist, Kathryn said: “She became this incredibly potent figure when it came to speaking truth to power.”

READ MORE Sinead O’Connor’s iconic shaven head look and the dark reasons behind the cut

During her BBC Breakfast interview, Kathryn said she vividly remembered the “backlash Sinead endured” in the mid-1990s.

Sinead was 25 years old when she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II on the American chat show Saturday Night Live in protest against child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Her actions resulted in a lifetime ban by broadcaster NBC and protests were formed against Sinead in the US, which saw copies of her records destroyed in New York’s Times Square.

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Kathryn exclaimed: “It was disgraceful and certainly, when you watch the film at that point in the documentary, there are audible gasps because people are still astounded with the level of backlash and how violent it was against this 25-year-old woman who was just speaking her truth.

“It’s horrendous to think that’s what she had to endure.”

Sinead had been through a lot of difficult times during her life, including being placed in one of the notorious former Magdalene laundries as a teenager which was originally set up to incarcerate young girls deemed to be promiscuous.

She suffered a personal tragedy last year when her 17-year-old son Shane was found dead.

In one of the singer’s final tweets, she called him: “The love of my life, the lamp of my soul.”

Sinead’s family announced the news of her death, aged 56, on Wednesday (July 27) “with great sadness” saying her “family and friends are devastated”.

The cause of the iconic singer’s death has not been made public.

BBC Breakfast airs daily on BBC One between 6am and 9am.

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