Sinead O’Connor has discussed her infamous SNL performance in 1992 and delivered a protest against widespread sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.
The performance ended up getting O’Connor banned from the cultural institution for life. The Irish singer delivered an a capella version of Bob Marley song ‘War’ and, during the performance, O’Connor held up a photograph of Pope John Paul II to the camera at the very moment she sang the word “evil” and began tearing it up in pieces, throwing them at the camera and stating: “Fight the real enemy”.
The photo had been situated on her own mother’s wall for decades. In her autobiography, Rememberings, she writes in an excerpt published by Rolling Stone: “It was taken when he visited Ireland in 1979. ‘Young people of Ireland,’ he had said after making a show of kissing the ground at the Dublin airport like the flight had been overly frightening, ‘I love you,'” the excerpt says.
“What a load of claptrap. Nobody loved us. Not even God. Sure, even our mothers and fathers couldn’t stand us,” she writes. “My intention had always been to destroy my mother’s photo of the pope,” O’Connor added. “It represented lies and liars and abuse.”
In her memoir, O’Connor explains that during the rehearsal, she held up a photo of a Brazilian street kid who the police had killed. However, she then used the picture of the Pope for the real performance.
“Everyone wants a pop star, see? But I am a protest singer,” she writes in the passage. “I just had stuff to get off my chest.”