Musician, artist, former-eight-foot-bride statue Amanda Palmer is getting ready to release her TED-talk-inspired book The Art of Asking in just a few short weeks. This afternoon, we had the chance to chat with Palmer about her new book while she was rehearsing for a collaborative show with students at Bard College.
We'll save the rest of our chat with Palmer until a little closer to her tour stop here in Minneapolis, but she had some insightful thoughts on the current controversy concerning former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi.
Palmer was scheduled to have a tour stop in Toronto with Ghomeshi as a guest this November following her Minneapolis appearance. However, in the past week, Ghomeshi has been fired from his job and a spate of sexual harassment allegations against the former radio personality have become public.
"The drama has hit such a fever pitch that it would be unkind and unsafe to so many people to have [Ghomeshi] on that stage," Palmer told Gimme Noise.
Since the controversy came to light, pressure had been put on Palmer to cancel Ghomeshi's appearance during her tour.
In a Facebook note posted yesterday, Palmer told fans her reasoning for keeping Ghomeshi on the roster and urged them to resist spreading hateful messages. However, she's since heard plenty arguments against his appearance and has decided to take Ghomeshi off the bill.
"It's tough stuff. Everywhere I turn, it seems I need to do this kind of work," Palmer says. "I would never have it otherwise. If my life were simple... if everyone and everything around me weren't complicated, I'd be bored!"
Palmer laughs, but quickly grows serious. "Watching the way people have reacted to this is so, so disheartening... to watch the world divide into a full-blown battlefield of anger and hatred. I just find it so disheartening to watch so many people tearing each other to shreds instead of listening to each other."
Palmer expects this kind of public backlash that comes with being an outspoken, high-profile artist, but she welcomes the opportunity to voice her opinions and hear those of her fans.
"The tenor and tone of the internet right now is just so negative," says Palmer. "Not to say that there aren't terrible things happening in the world -- there are always terrible things happening in the world. But you know, compassion is not very popular nowadays, and I find that incredibly sad."
Here's the statement Palmer released on her Facebook page following our chat this afternoon:
thank you for patiently standing by while i figured out what to do about this situation with jian ghomeshi, who i invited months ago to be my on-stage interview guest in toronto as i tour the book.
to those of you who have engaged in the conversation in a thoughtful, compassionate, calm way, i hug you. thank you.
to those of you who have stepped up and shared - on facebook and on my blog - your own stories and feelings about sexual abuse and consent, i hug you even tighter.
and to those of you who are seeing yourselves and your own experiences reflected in these women coming forward: i hug you the tightest.
listen: i am a woman who has spent a lifetime struggling to be believed myself - for so many reasons. and i am so happy to see a conversation about women and consent taking center stage right now. it means that we are moving forwards.
i am *not* happy to see people flinging insults, using violent language and wishing harm on others. when that happens, it means that we are moving backwards.
i have spent the last few days, doing my best amidst all-day rehearsals for a musical that opens on wednesday, to read and follow all of the stories that are coming out. thank you to everyone for sharing forward all of the articles and content, you've helped me. the story is incredibly, incredibly sad.
given everything i've learned, and especially given how upsetting it would be to so many, jian will not be coming to the show in toronto.
i'll see many of you soon, tour starts in about a week.
meanwhile: may we all hold the space - in the physical world and on the internet - to take care of each other. we're in this one together, friends. please don't forget that.
Amanda Palmer will be at the Cedar Cultural Center on November 11 promoting her new book, The Art of Asking.
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