Lady Gaga was recently vomited on in the middle of a performance – and it wasn’t an accident. According to MTV’s Christina Garibaldi, it all started with a tweet by Gaga on Thursday March 13, saying she doesn’t like to play by the nun rules – she makes her own.
Gaga’s performance has caused an uproar, to some, in regards to the media and celebrities glamorizing eating disorders and addiction. It has created discussion between what is considered art and what is crossing the line.
Some members of the Keene State College community from the theater major, Active Minds, a club on campus devoted to changing the conversation about mental health on college campuses, the psychology major and the substance abuse major all seemed to feel the same way: Gaga’s performance was out of line.
As stated on MTV’s website, Gaga performed at the South by Southwest Music Festival for the first time on Thursday, March 13. MTV stated Gaga began her set by strapping herself onto a rotisserie. She continued to spin on the rotisserie pole while her dancers basted her with brushes covered with barbecue sauce. Gaga went on to throw sausage links and beer at the crowd. Next, she warned the fans it was going to get messy.
Also according to the site, Gaga introduced her friend, Millie Brown, a “vomit painter” from London. When Brown arrived on the stage, she began chugging a liter of green liquid thought to be soda. Brown then stuck two fingers down her throat and proceeded to vomit on Gaga’s body and even into her mouth.
Brown wasn’t done yet. She and Gaga climbed onto a mechanical pig together for the song, “Swine,” accompanied with a keyboard, MTV said. Gaga continued to sing and Brown continued to throw up black liquid onto Gaga.
Jeff Bradley, a KSC senior and psychology and substance abuse major, shared his opinion about Gaga’s performance. “I would say [the performance was] out of line and everything she does is for the shock factor and it’s gotten to the point where it’s like, why are you bothering to do that? First of all, you’re already famous and it’s just making light of bulimia basically. And anyone who knows anyone who has an eating disorder would be obviously be affected by that. The whole shock value thing is really frustrating,” he said.
On Friday, following her concert, Gaga went on to be the first woman in 15 years to be the keynote speaker at the music festival, according to MTV. But that is not what KSC students were talking about the following day.
“[Gaga’s performance] would make me question whether she truly deserves [to be the keynote speaker] in the first place, if she’s that inconsiderate of other people who struggle with these issues. Why are we celebrating somebody who would be that insensitive?” Damian Vacca, a KSC senior, psychology major and the Active Minds vice president said.
Celebrity Demi Lovato, singer of Heart Attack, was especially outraged and took to Twitter on Friday to show her protest of Gaga’s performance. According to the Huffington Post, TMZ and MTV, Lovato accused Gaga of glamorizing eating disorders. Lovato herself stated she received treatment of eating disorders and other addictions, back in 2010, as stated by New York Daily News’ Zayda Rivera.
Lovato allegedly tweeted several times criticizing Gaga’s performance Friday stating such things like: “Putting the word ART in it isn’t a free card to do whatever you want without consequence.”
Lovato also allegedly posted, “Sad… As if we didn’t have enough people glamorizing eat[ing] disorders already. Bottom line, it’s not ‘cool’ or ‘artsy’ at all,” and, “Activists don’t shut up. If no one raises their voice, how are we supposed to be heard?”
Lovato went on to compare Gaga’s decision to bring Brown on stage to bringing someone with a needle and allowing them to shoot up on stage, or a razor and allowing them to cut themselves on stage. Lovato stated she wasn’t hating on Gaga, but that someone had to come forward, and she was willing to take the heat for it, according to NY Daily News.
Bradley said, “I don’t know if [the media] glamorizes [eating disorders and addiction] but they definitely down-play it…A lot of addiction isn’t focused much in the media and when it is, it’s still such a taboo topic that people don’t like to talk about it.”
Lovato concluded the tweets with a warning about how pop culture can have a negative effect on others. She stated she assured Gaga fans she is still a Gaga fan herself, but that she simply viewed the performance as glamorizing something as serious as eating disorders and addiction.
Gaga defended her performance by stating the performance was about pure artistic expression. She said her new album is all about combining art and music in “creative rebellion,” according to MTV. The performance, she states, was meant for the crowd at the music festival, not for something like the Today Show and this is why some may not be into it.
“I don’t think any celebrity needs to go this far in order to keep their fan base” KSC junior and elementary education and theater major Kristen Licht said. “[Gaga] did it because she could. Whether she had some kind of underlying message for this or not, it was disgusting and completely unnecessary,” she added.
Brown took to TMZ to respond to Lovato in which she said, “There’s a clear difference between using my body to create something beautiful, to express myself and feel powerful, rather than using it to punish myself and conform to society’s standards.”
Gaga herself has now admitted to dealing with eating disorders for over ten years after her performance was questioned, as stated by International Business Times’ Toyin Owoseje.
For Licht, this makes the performance even more surprising and confusing. “Seeing as how she has admitted to have dealt with eating disorders, it really makes me question why on earth she would think doing something like this would be a good idea and would go over well with the public,” Licht said.
Vacca added, “It doesn’t matter who you are if you’re in the limelight, you have a responsibly with the messages that you’re putting out there. You can call it art or what you want but if it’s just downright degrading and disrespectful to certain people, you should stop and think, ‘Is this going to cause harm to someone if I do this?’”
Taylor Howe can be contacted at email@example.com