Examiner publisher Todd Vogt’s days as a concert promoter are apparently over. After outrage in the gay community, the San Francisco Newspaper Company’s chief executive announced yesterday he’s pulling the plug on singer Michelle Shocked’s planned free concert to coincide with Pride week. The idea of giving a forum to an entertainer whose homophobic rant got her booed off stage in San Francisco in March didn’t play well. Vogt apologized via Twitter and SF Weekly. As part of the deal, Shocked was to have been offered an op-ed in the Examiner and interviewed by SF Weekly, which SFNC also owns, along with the Bay Guardian.
In tweets over the past couple of days—including one in which he tells CNN’s Piers Morgan to “pound sand”—Vogt first defends and then repudiates the notion of having Shocked perform. Pretty confusing stuff. Not clear how a freebie concert by someone who’s left vitriol in her wake could “shine a light on hatred and bigotry” as Vogt puts it, inasmuch as the ill-timed concert coinciding with the nation’s biggest gay pride celebration would have almost certainly reduced her to a human pinata.
The episode comes at a particularly sensitive time for Vogt, who, with a business partner, is set to take a minority stake in the city’s leading LGBT publication, the Bay Area Reporter. The B.A.R., to its credit, has a comprehensive piece on the brouhaha.
I am officially canceling the plan to have Michelle Shocked come to San Francisco and perform a free concert and apologize for her recent anti-gay comments. I had hoped that her concert and apology would have held the performer accountable and shine a light on hatred and bigotry, but, unfortunately, it has not. Having Ms. Shocked stand in front of a San Francisco audience and perform her music was intended to help heal, but has only further angered and offended the community.
I sincerely apologize to all.