3 Oct: When Sinéad Shocked America

Irish popstar Sinéad O’Connor tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during her performance of Bob Marley’s ‘War’ on NBC’s TV show ‘Saturday Night Live’ on 3rd October, 1992. The unexpected act was meticulously planned by O’Connor; a protest against child abuse within the Catholic Church. 

The performance left the audience almost silent, and, although she faced significant backlash, O’Connor remained unapologetic, writing in her memoirs that it was one of her proudest achievements.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how a Top of the Pops performance by Bob Geldof first inspired the stunt; reveal where precisely O’Connor got the photo of the Pope from; and ask if, when it comes to this divisive moment, SNL have fallen on the right side of history…

Further Reading:

• ‘The day Sinead O’Connor tore up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live’ (The Independent, 2022): https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/sinead-oconnor-snl-pope-photo-b2191296.html

• ‘Sinead O’Connor’s Legacy With Sex Abuse Survivors in Catholic Church’ (Rolling Stone, 2023): https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/sinead-oconnor-catholic-church-abuse-legacy-1234797102/

• ‘Sinéad O’Connor rips up picture of Pope John Paul II’ (NBC, 1992):

#90s #Religion #Protest #TV #Irish #Catholic

CONTENT WARNING: child abuse