The Irish singer, 54, was promoting her memoir Rememberings when she engaged in the stilted conversation with host Emma Barnett, 36, who spoke of her being ‘a crazy lady’, while Sinead also controversially likened herself to Jamaican men.
During the discussion, Emma spoke of how The Telegraph’s music critic Neil McCormick, 60, had branded Sinead ‘the crazy lady in pop’s attic’ – a reference the singer later described as ‘abusive and invalidating’.
Speaking out: Sinead O’Connor has hit out at BBC Woman’s Hour after being subjected to an ‘offensive and misogynistic’ interview on the show on Tuesday morning
Sinead is currently blazing the promo trail with her tome and her appearance on the BBC show saw Emma probe her about society’s approach to mental health and how the media is evolving following her personal battles.
Emma delved into Neil’s statement, saying: ‘I was very struck by an interview with Neil McCormick, the music critic for The Telegraph, when he said your reputation as ‘the crazy lady in pop’s attic’ has pursued you.’
Regarding the comment, which was made in Neil’s review of Rememberings last week, Emma pushed: ‘I wonder what you make of that?’
Sinead seemed taken aback by the comment and pointed out its clear reference to Bertha Mason, the character in Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre, who is violently insane and locked up by her husband Rochester.
Hitting back: The Irish singer, 54, was promoting her memoir Rememberings when she engaged in the stilted conversation with host Emma Barnett, 36, (pictured in January) who spoke of her being ‘a crazy lady’, while Sinead also likened herself to Jamaican men
She said: ‘I think it’s a bit extreme to make the Jane Eyre comparison, I don’t think I’ve ever been perceived as ‘the crazy lady in pop’s attic’ as represented in Jane Eyre…
‘It’s not like I’m trying to attack people with knives or trying to strangle people while I’m walking around in my nightdress.’
In her post-interview tweets, Sinead, who changed her name to Shuhada’ Davitt in 2018, penned: ‘Actually found the interview with @Emmabarnett extremely offensive and even misogynistic…
‘One abusive and invalidating question or statement after another: “madwoman in the attic” At that point I should have ended it. I will absolutely never do Women’s hour again.’
Hitting back: Sinead vowed not to appear on the show again following the reference to Neil McCormick’s slur
Emotional: She also apologised for offending Jamaican men in the chat
Starring role: Sinead’s apology came after she spoke on the show about her own family situation. She has been married four times and has four children (Sinead, pictured in 1990)
Her other tweet read: ‘Also, apologies if I accidentally offended Jamaican men. I was referring to specific friends of mine in the music business. Jamaican people are my favourite people on this earth and Jamaican male musicians my biggest inspiration.’
Sinead’s apology came after she spoke on the show about her own family situation. She has been married four times and has four children.
Her eldest son is 33-year-old Jake Reynolds, whose father is Donal Reynolds. They married in 1987 before splitting in 1991. Her daughter Roisin, 24, is the result of her relationship with journalist John Waters.
She shares son Jake, 16, with ex Donal Lunny. Her youngest child is 14-year-old Yeshua Francis Neil Bonadio, who she shares with American businessman Frank Bonadio. They split in 2017, a year after his birth.
‘The crazy lady in pop’s attic’: The duo discussed The Telegraph’s Neil McCormick’s review of Rememberings – which he branded ‘brave and wry’
Sinead’s children, their fathers and her husbands
– JAKE REYNOLDS, 33
FATHER: Music producer John Reynolds, who she married in 1987, before splitting in 1991
– ROISIN WALTERS, 24
FATHER: Journalist John Waters. Sinead never lived with John and they fought for custody of their daughter before it was decided she would live with him in Dublin.
– SHANE LUNNY, 17
FATHER: Musician Donal Lunny. Sinead split with Donal shortly after Shane’s arrival
– YESHUA FRANCIS NEIL BONADIO, 14
FATHER: American businessman Frank Bonadio. She split from Frank in 2007, a year after Yeshua’s birth.
MARRIED: John Reynolds
MARRIED: Nick Sommerlad
MARRIED: Steve Cooney
MARRIED: Barry Herridge
2011-Split days later
On the show, Emma asked Sinead: ‘You talk about having four children by four different men and you do say that’s deliberate. I like your description of yourself as a horn dog, as someone expressing themselves and being themselves.’
Sinead replied: ‘I think women always had the freedom to do what they want sexually… I haven’t computed in my life people of my parents or my grandparents’ generation that there was any limitation of women and their sexuality…
‘It would probably be unusual still – I don’t know what it’s like in England – but it’s certainly unusual for someone to have more than two kids with different fathers.’
She then referenced Jamaican men, saying: ‘I’m kind of like a Jamaican father, fathers say is a revolving door in my house…
‘Nobody bats an eyelid when Jamaican fellas have kids with f**king -sorry didnt mean to say that – they have kids with tons of people and no one bats an eyelid’.
Emma pointed out this could be deemed a generalisation, saying: ‘Some people will not like the stereotyping of Jamaican men just then’.
Sinead – who was interrupted by Emma – responded: ‘I wasn’t stereotyping, I was talking about a particular man I cant remember his name. I have to stop you there…
‘I’m not generalising on Jamaican people. They are my favourite people on earth, they’re the greatest people on planet earth…
‘The fact is lots of them have lots of kids with lots of women and nobody bats a f**king eyelid. I can name you a hundred men.’
MailOnline has contacted a representative for BBC Woman’s Hour for comment.
Sinead also spoke about how mental health is treated in society, saying: ‘I call it racist which isn’t the right word but I can never find what the right word is. But being the subject of abuse to someone who is mentally ill is sort of similar to racism…
‘I experienced as have many of my friends with conditions, having a mental health conditions its in the world the way it is now its like having two broken legs but everybody is expecting you to walk normal…
Mum: Sinéad has four children – Shane Lunny, 16, Jake Reynolds, 33, Roisin Waters, 24, and Yeshua Bonadio, 14 (pictured with Shane and Yeshua in Dublin in 2012)
‘If you show symptoms and you don’t walk normal, people are going to knock you over, stomp on your broken legs and use your screaming in pain as something to abuse you with.’
Emma came under further fire earlier this year, when a Woman’s Hour guest stormed off the show just two minutes before airtime after claiming she overheard Emma discussing if she had made anti-Semitic remarks.
Kelechi Okafor was set to talk about the MeToo movement on the Radio 4 show but left the Zoom call moments before it went live after the new host – in her third day in the hotseat – left her mic on during a conversation with producers.
The actress was accused of anti-Semitism in 2017 when she defended Reggie Yates after he praised musicians who were not signed to ‘some random fat Jewish guy’.
Ms Okafor said in the now-deleted podcast: ‘Black people in the entertainment industry have been short-changed so much by the kinds of people Reggie Yates describes. Apart from the ”fat part” I don’t see what he said wrong.’
Emma, who took over hosting the popular Radio 4 show that month, said she had invited Ms Okafor to debate the matter and ‘stands by her queries’.
Rising star: Sinead soared to fame in the 90s with her track Nothing Compares 2 U
She said it was her ‘duty to ask people what qualifies them as a leading voice in a space. And about any previous issues which may influence their views.’
She added: ‘Just before I went on air this morning to present a special programme about Me Too – pegged to the anniversary of Harvey Weinstein’s court case – it came to my attention that Kelechi Okafor had made alleged anti-Semitic remarks.
‘I stand by my questions to my team and to Kelechi. I would have happily hosted her on the programme with a question on this issue.’
She said Ms Okafor denied the allegations. Campaigners have said Barnett’s gaffe meant no BAME voices were included in the MeToo discussion.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘During an off-air conversation ahead of the programme, Emma Barnett and the production team talked about a guest’s role in the discussion and how to reflect some of the guest’s alleged previous comments and the issue of anti-Semitism as part of the Woman’s Hour discussion on the role of minority voices in the MeToo movement.This was also raised directly with the guest before going on air.’
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