Lady Gaga upsets activists with wheelchair prop, gets egged Down Under
Just when you thought Lady Gaga had retreated into her giant egg for a post-Born This Way-release hibernation, she’s making headlines and ruffling feathers across the Pacific Rim.
This time, though, she was the glittery target for ova of the ballistic kind. After leaving a gay bar in Sydney, Australia, pranksters threw eggs at her. Before you can say “Vegemite!” she dodged them with bullet-time finesse like some latex-clad Trinity. Which is to say, like Trinity.
Whether this was in response to an earlier outcry she provoked from disability advocates upon performing “Yoü and I” in a wheelchair while dressed as a mermaid at the Sydney Town Hall or a performance-art follow-up to her egg-themed “Born This Way” Grammy set piece couldn’t be ascertained at press time. The latter could be likely, since a few days earlier on the Taiwanese talk show Channel V, she referred to her new fish-tailed alter ego Yuyi the Mermaid as being in “incubation.”
Roman Reed, a lobbyist for research on spinal cord injuries tweeted his bemusement with Gaga’s wheelchair stunt, however: “Dear @ladygaga how about using your celebrity status 2 try 2 get us out of wheelchairs. Instead of cruising one. Cool?!” Later he broached a tentative détente with “I like @ladygaga & would like hrr to help fund the research to get us out of our chairs like she can. Were on the Edge:-)”
Jesse Billauer, a founder of quadriplegic advocacy group Life Rolls On, also sounded off: “Since this isn’t the first time she has used a wheelchair in her performances, I invite her to learn more about the 5.6 million Americans who live with paralysis,” Jesse tells Radar. “They, like me, unfortunately, don’t use a wheelchair for shock value.”
Billauer’s referring to her previous foray into wheelchair-chic for her “Paparazzi” video in which her character is temporarily paralyzed after being tossed off a balcony by an eyepatch-wearing Alexander Skarsgard. As she often finds herself having to do, Her Ladyship explained away that controversy to Vanity Fair as a critique of people who are willing to “fame-whore themselves.” Since Yuyi the Mermaid has been rumored to be a part of the video for Gaga’s next (to be announced) single, it may not be a controversy that’ll go away quickly.
Gaga’s found herself in quite a bit of hot water lately. Catholic and Latino groups criticized her Biblical-themed “Judas” video, while shipments of Born This Way were impounded in Lebanon for being “offensive to Christianity.” And just today, her YouTube page was suspended after her camp uploaded a copyrighted video of her performance on the Japanese TV show SMAP x SMAP.
What thinketh you, Music Mixers? Is Gaga’s wheelchair-based performance offensive to the disabled? Or is it indeed a blistering commentary on exploitative “fame whoring”? And didn’t those who hurled the eggs realize that this is what Australians do to pranksters?
The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix
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