George Michael fears U.S. reaction to his new single

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com July 12 2002 11:00 PM ET

Out pop singer George Michael believes his life would be in danger if he returned to the United States following an outburst of anger over his latest single, which ridicules the U.S.-led "war on terror." In an interview to be broadcast on Britain's ITV network on Friday evening, Michael said a New York Post article about him headlined "Pop Perv's 9/11 slur," followed by a disastrous interview on the CNN news network designed to limit the damage, had made it impossible for him to go back. "I was trying to do some damage control because my life was in danger. Americans are very reactionary right now and I--because of that article--cannot return to America, even though my partner lives there," he told ITV.

"Shoot the Dog" lampoons the U.S. response to the September 11 attacks and the "special relationship" between the United States and Britain. The video depicts British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a poodle being petted on the White House lawn by President Bush. Michael sings in one verse: "Nine nine nine gettin jiggy / People did you see that fire in the city? / It's like we're fresh out of democratic / Gotta get yourself a little something semi-automatic." The gay singer claimed he was not anti-American and blamed homophobia for his unpopularity in the U.S., following his 1998 arrest for exposing himself to a police officer. "It is not an attack on American people, who I have a great deal of respect for," he said. "For some reason I don't have a right to talk about anything because I got caught four years ago with a police officer in a Los Angeles toilet. Somehow that eradicates all possibility that what I'm saying might be for the best or is worthy of being discussed," he complained.

In the interview Michael described the events of September 11 unfolding as he put the final touches to the song. "On September 11, I was almost finished. I had two lines to go on the chorus and one of my coproducers ran into the room and said: 'You have to switch on the TV, you're not going to believe what you see,' " he said. "Shoot the Dog" will not be released in the United States because the singer currently has no American record deal.