Demi Lovato is still a fan of Mother Monster, but she’s been battling other Little Monsters in the past 24 hours, thanks to her series of tweets criticizing a stunt at Lady Gaga’s SXSW show.
At the March 13 concert, Gaga had performance artist Millie Brown swallow paint, then vomit it back up on her. What to us just sounds gross, to Gaga was art — and to Demi was glamorizing eating disorders. Demi has been open with her history of bulimia, cutting, depression and addiction, and she wasn’t happy with the example Gaga set in her show.
Demi issued a series of tweets on the subject on March 14: "Sad... As if we didn't have enough people glamorizing eat disorders already. 😣 Bottom line, it's not ‘cool’ or ‘artsy’ at all. … Would you let someone bring a needle and shoot up on you? Addiction is addiction. … It's not ‘shade’ and it's not ‘hate’. But someone has to come forward and say it and I'll take the heat for it. ✌️”
After her tweets made the rounds, she got into some art debates with Gaga defenders. One fan said Gaga herself struggled with an eating disorder and she gave a moving speech before her performance; the fan highly doubted her intention was to glamorize eating disorders. Demi replied, “So it's cool if I do a speech about self-harm and then proceed to watch someone cut themselves on my stage? No. That doesn't make it OKAY.” She repeated, “Putting the word ART in it isn't a free card to do whatever you want without consequences.” And added, “Activists don't shut up. If no one raises their voice, how are we supposed to be heard?"
The same fan said “comparing self-harm to this situation doesn't even make sense” and Demi declared that “ignorant” saying this person clearly doesn’t know anything about mental illness or addiction. That’s a bold statement to make in response to another person’s valid opinion — if Demi has one, others should be allowed to as well — but Demi decided to just make one big statement on the matter, then move on.
“All I'm saying is, artists in pop culture have influence on people.. Some of which are people who aren't capable of understanding the art that is that is expressed by their idols. Young people who are struggling to figure out their identities are seriously influenced by the things they see their idols do. Whether we intend to or not, artists influence people of ALL ages and unfortunately what people see, people do. Hair, clothes and sometimes misinterpreting things, therefore using the excuse of art to engage in self-destructive behaviors. I've been through a sh*t ton.. More than any of you know, and I sympathize for everyone's struggle. But people emulate what they see celebrities do or let happen. And that's why I had to say something.. to let the people who don't understand the art in it, that bulimia isn't cool, and it won't get you on stage with your favorite artist. I can't NOT say anything because I stand up for what I believe in and speak out about mental illnesses. You're right, nobody asked my opinion but pop culture is a huge part in leading our generation, we have to continue to strive to change the world. No hate, no shade, just love. 💗✌️ "
She added that she’s still a “Little Monster” herself, then moved on to trying to set her friend Natalie up with a boyfriend.
For her part, Lady Gaga had already discussed the vomiting gag during the keynote address before her performance. "I'm so deeply passionate about any person that has an artistic spirit — any person that has a talent that they believe in no matter how crazy the idea; you never know where that crazy idea might lead you," Gaga said (via MTV). "Martin Luther King thought he could start a revolution without violence and Andy Warhol thought that he could make a soup can into art. Sometimes things that are really, really strange and feel really wrong can really change the world. I'm not saying vomit's going to change the world... it's truly just what we wanted to create and do and us respecting each other as artists."
Gaga is Gaga — she wouldn’t be herself if she wasn’t doing something “shocking” to start a conversation. This happened to push Demi’s buttons because it touched on something deeply personal to her. Do you agree with Demi that Gaga’s vomiting stunt wasn’t cool and glamorized eating disorders, or do you think she read it the wrong way? Sometimes vomit is just vomit...