Sinéad O’Connor has reflected on the time she ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II during an appearance on Saturday Night Live.
As part of her a cappella performance of Bob Marley’s War on the TV sketch show in October 1992, the Irish singer tore up a photo of the then-leader of the Catholic Church. She then told the audience to “fight the real enemy” and threw the pieces of paper at the camera.
In a trailer for her upcoming documentary, Nothing Compares, which was released over the weekend, O’Connor discussed the motivation behind her actions.
“I had come across an article about families who had been trying to lodge complaints against the church for sexual abuse and were being silenced,” she stated. “Basically, everything I had been raised to believe was a lie.”
O’Connor also argued it was her duty as an artist to raise hard conversations, no matter the outcome.
“I wasn’t thinking to myself, I must be strong,” the 55-year-old recalled. “I didn’t know I was strong. An artist’s job is sometimes to create the difficult conversations that need to be had.”
O’Connor concluded, “That’s what art is for.”
Nearly 1,000 callers reached out to NBC to complain about the performance.
Directed by Kathryn Ferguson, Nothing Compares is set to be released via Showtime on 30 September.