Madonna compares gay bullying to the Holocaust & lynching


Madonna has become one of those people who watches a trend very closely, then adopts the trend, goes completely overboard and acts like she started the whole damn trend in the first place. Such it was with this year’s issue: bullying, specifically, bullying of gay kids. While many celebrities have chimed in about how they too were bullied, or perhaps they even sat down for an “It Gets Better” video, Madonna wants you to know that she got there FIRST, and that her comments about the issue are so much MORE HARDCORE than yours.

During a satellite appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday, Madonna makes a heartfelt plea to end bullying in America.

“I’m incredibly disturbed and saddened by the overwhelming number of teen suicides that have been reported lately because of bullying,” she says. “Suicide in general is disturbing. Teenagers committing suicide is extremely disturbing, but to hear that teenagers are taking their lives because they are being bullied in schools and dormitories, what have you, is kind of unfathomable.”

Madonna, now 52, says she was bullied as a kid growing up in Michigan.

“I still feel different,” she says. “I can totally relate to the idea of feeling isolated and alienated. I was incredibly lonely as a child, as a teenager. I have to say I never felt like I fit in in school. I wasn’t a jock. I wasn’t an intellectual. There was no group that I felt a part of. I just felt like a weirdo.”

It wasn’t until her ballet teacher, who was gay, took her under his wing and introduced her to a community of artists that she felt “it was OK to be different,” she says.

The gay community “has been incredibly supportive of me,” she says. “I wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for the gay community.”

She says she’s been talking to her children about bullying. “We talk a lot about the importance of not judging people who are different — not judging people who don’t fit into our expected view of what’s cool and what isn’t,” she says. “The concept that we are torturing teenagers because they are gay — it’s unfathomable. It’s like lynching black people or Hitler exterminating Jews. Sorry if I’m going on a rampage right now, but this is America. The land of the free and the home of the brave….”

Her solution? “I think it would be interesting for everybody to try one simple experiment: Try to get through the day … without gossiping about somebody,” she says. “And not only that — not even listening to gossip, walking away from it. Can you imagine what your day would be like? How much more free time you’d have? I also feel like you’d feel about better about yourself.”

[From Us Weekly]

Gay bullying is comparable to lynching and the Holocaust? Um… don’t get me wrong, I think gay bullying sucks, and I wish we lived in a society where no one gave a sh-t about who’s gay and who’s not, and every kid was allowed to simply do his or her own thing, in their own time, and everyone would be loving and tolerant. Of course. But can’t the issue just stand on its own? Do we need to say it’s better or worse than or comparable to something else that’s awful?

Oh, and Hitler killed homosexuals in the concentration camps too. Why do people always forget that? It wasn’t just Jews that were murdered – it was gays and Communists and Gypsies too. And when Hitler did it, he had them rounded up, they had to identify themselves with the triangle, and then they were sent to the camps. While I think the issue of gay bullying is incredibly serious, that isn’t happening in America, you know? I hate it when people misuse or misread history – it’s one of my peeves, and it’s totally comparable to the Spanish-American War.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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69 Responses to “Madonna compares gay bullying to the Holocaust & lynching”

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  1. Obvious says:

    It is true. Each group was marked differently. People mainly remember the Jews A) because of a little book we have called The Diary of Anne Frank, and B) because it was the largest group exterminated by the Nazi’s. But I believe the mentally and physically handicapped, blacks, gypsies, gays and anyone Hitler didn’t like the look of were also sent to their doom.

  2. EllenP says:

    Nah, I still see her mocking Kevin Costner in Truth or Dare. Because he wasn’t cool, I guess. I have a perception of her as rude and arrogant. Can’t help it.

  3. devilgirl says:

    Even though I am an adult (sometimes), I have been the target of a bully on the internet. It is scary how disturbed some people are, and how their rabid hatred of people extends even to those they do not know over the internet.

    In the end, you have to feel sorry for the bullies, as they are the ones who are the real outcasts, otherwise, why would they feel the need to bully someone?

  4. Oi says:

    This totally goes under the heading of “not helping”. And no Madge, the concept of bullying anyone is not ‘unfathomable’, whether the kid is gay or not. THIS HAPPENS TO EVERYONE.

    and gays are not the only ones being bullied right now either. Lets not forget the rest.

    And i see your point about the Holocaust, and it is true, but at the same time Hilter was not out to systematically destroy all the other groups like he was the Jews. The Jews were his biggest target group, period. And the were the vast majority of those who were killed.

  5. tiki says:

    word of advice, madge. dial it back a bit, okay? something can be wrong in and of itself without it being compared to something horrific. bullying is not the equivalent of hanging and gassing people.
    oh, and that whole ‘i was the odd one out’ thing that celebrities are so fond of? snort–yeah, right. if celebrities were to be believed, not a single one of them fit in in high school or were pretty or popular. everyone last one of them was a misfit. amazing how they managed to overcome the tragedy and go on to success, don’t you think? please.

  6. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    I liked what Madonna said. It was sensitive and compelling. I don’t think there is no need to nitpick at her statement of unity and trying to bring light to the senselessness of killing people for who they are or what they believe. I think she only meant to compare gay bullying to those events because they are being bullied for a specific reason, like how being black in this country could get you lynched or disrespected. Like how your religion got you murdered and disrespected.

    I would love to try and not gossip for a day. Sounds like a good little challenge.

  7. Hollowdoll says:

    I think it’s a bit of a stretch to make that comparison, but people do it all the time. She is trying real hard to keep herself in the public eye. It is a very important topic, there are better ways of discussing it. So many stars who say they were bullied in school refuse to admit that they are letting themselves be bullied into living a life that is a lie.

  8. Nanea says:

    Bullying for whatever reason is awful, but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced it at least once while growing up, be it in school, or among friends, even in the family.

    But the Holocaust is a whole different dimension. Six million people were killed, and not just grown-ups but kids too. And the Allies knew and let it happen.

  9. Bina says:

    Madonna should think about how bad it is in other countries, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, where you can get the death penalty for being gay.

  10. texasmom says:

    “Not fitting in” is different than being rounded up and killed in batches.

    However, it IS true that gays (among so many) were systemically murdered by Nazis.

    The lynching comparison rings a little truer — gay bullying often goes past bullying into terrifying violence and even murder. But it hasn’t been socially sanctioned the way lynching was back in the day. I mean, lynchings still happen in isolated incidents (remember James Byrd getting dragged behind a truck?). But now everyone responds with horror instead of, say, getting their picture taken with the body. Which used to be a common practice. So I don’t think the comparison is great, just not as bad as the Holocaust one.

  11. Attagirl says:

    Madonna bullies her staff, her dancers, her underlings, her nannies. She’s rude, arrogant and enjoys having the fame and fortune that gives her the power to intimidate lesser mortals. She’s famous for her diva behavior. So her comments on bullying come across as crass, fatuous and utterly hypocritical. You’re right Kaiser, she just jumps on a trend and tries to make it hers. She’s always done that. Which is why I loathe her.

  12. Raven Sparrow says:

    Her solution? “I think it would be interesting for everybody to try one simple experiment: Try to get through the day … without gossiping about somebody,” she says. “And not only that — not even listening to gossip, walking away from it….. ”


    What???? No more Celebitchy?????

  13. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    @tiki: Exactly!

  14. Johnny Depp's Girl says:

    What a pile of CRAP! Although Bullying sucks for all involved whether they are gay or not, THERE IS NO COMPARISON.

    Mass murder vs bullying?? REALLY?

    Gassing and killing babies are comparible to bullying????

    Get a grip MADGE.. Damn.

  15. Diane says:

    She sounds incredibly phony.

  16. Sammy says:

    Only people cosigning this ignorant shit are folks who AREN’T black or jewish (even though madonna is).

    Undoubtedly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Madonna please go sit down somewhere.

  17. juliana says:

    I thought Madonna was a cheerleader in high school?
    Why is she saying she never fit in?

  18. Dany says:

    Hm. It’s always difficult to compare something “that happens” to Hitler.

    Because of his ideology, his fanatic madness and his followers/killer troops my family doesn’t have a lot of male relatives left. Their “crime” was that they were convinced democrats.

    To me it is always intolerable when people seem to have the power to bring others to a point of desperation – regardless of whether it is their religion, their color or their sexuality.

    But don’t forget that Hitler had built up a killing machine for everyone who didn’t fit into his sick mindset. I am condemning bullying in strong terms but to put it in a row with the methodical killing of millions is a little bit over the top to my opinion.

  19. Obvious says:

    Was she a cheerleader? that makes me laugh.

  20. lucy2 says:

    Kaiser, I think your first sentence sums her up perfectly.

  21. sdshelt says:

    “and it’s totally comparable to the Spanish-American War.”

    LOL 😀 That made me laugh.

  22. Tess says:

    Just shoot me now. This shallow, vain Madame wannabee (I’m guessing here…but how else to explain her inexplicable, post cosmetic surgery puppet-like appearance?) is a poster child for the dangers of moral relativism.

    Because bullying gays is deplorable, it doesn’t make it an equivalent moral evil to the holocaust, which was a state supported program, or to lynching.
    Agree with you, Kaiser.

    This is significant moment in her fateful journey toward the shark it is her destiny to jump.

  23. Salina says:

    I was bullied by a popular gay boy at school bc I was overweight. He apologized years later and blamed his attitude on his unhappiness. I ended up feeling sorry for him even though he ruined 9th grade for me. Im not comparing my situation to lynchings bc I was not murdered. Suicide is a choice. I’ll never understand that choice but you can’t compare suicides to mass murder. MAdonna just wants attention.

  24. PsychicEyes says:

    @ Kaiser, I could not agree with you more.

    @Attagirl. You are spot on with your assessment of her.

  25. jover says:

    Bullying is a problem, gay or straight, but making distinctions is part of what being an intellectual is about,so Madonna’s posing as an intellectual fails also. Why can’t celebs make simple honest statements when they decide to go public for a cause, instead of overreaching and making it about their vanities and egos.

  26. lena80 says:

    Suicide is not the same as murder…case closed

  27. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    No. When people make these comparisons it invites yet another round of ‘False Equivalency: Who’s The Best At Suffering? Edition’. The initial topic is all but abandoned because our own misplaced vanity wants lay claim to hardships endured by others, diminish those of another ‘team’, and give us a boost when the misery of others becomes our laurel crown. Once you get to that kind of thinking, screeds about one’s pet human tragedy make the topic that was supposed to be the focus get shuffled off into the background. Essentially that sets up a lynching vs. gassing competition–which is just tacky. Let’s just call this what it is: the co-option of the most malignant events of the last century and beyond as window-dressing for the ego.

  28. Green Is Good says:

    Her Vajesty has deigned to offer us lesser mortals her opinion. File this under “B*tch Please” or STFU.

  29. minnie says:

    ummm, until our government starts systematically seeking out gay people, taking their land, homes and property, ripping them from their partners and families, raping the women, and then putting them in concentration camps to be starved, frozen, and forced into slave labor while awaiting their turn in the gas chamber, madonna has NO business comparing bullying to the holocaust.

    what an insensitive, uneducated, and inappropriate comparison.

    and i agree with the poster who mentioned how much worst it is in the middle east, where you can be murdered by the government (death penalty) for being gay.

  30. KJ says:

    “But can’t the issue just stand on its own? Do we need to say it’s better or worse than or comparable to something else that’s awful?” <— this

    I absolutely can’t stand when people try and compare things like this. I’m black, so when I read someone comparing bullying of a gay teen in school to dragging blacks from their homes, in front of their families, to be hanged on trees in front of large white audiences cheering for their death, it really bugs me. Why CAN’T an issue just stand on it’s own? I think it diminishes the impact of ALL cases when you try and compare them.

    This always reminds me of that person you know who always tries to one up everything you say. You say you only got 4 hours of sleep, “oh yeah, well I only got 2 and a half.”

  31. Tazina says:

    Madonna is far beyond having to “try” to keep herself relevant to stay in the public eye. She talks – people do listen because of her celebrity status. Good for her tackling this very sad subject where people have lost their lives. Her statements are strong but they are getting the point across.

  32. Kiska says:

    @ Attagirl. You wrote exactly what I was going to say. Madonna has always been a bully to others. She needs to practice what she preaches.

  33. Anti-icon says:

    Well, in terms of her image, RIGHT ON, Material Girl!!!!!! Really, I’d rather see Madge get on her soapbox to throw America a bone of TRUTH than have my eyes scalded by her continuous disease of self age-ism.

    I do remember where she came from….and this is a good interview, despite its rather preachy tone. Pappa Don’t Preach, but Daughter does.

  34. skibunny says:

    I was bullied by a fat boy in grade eight. He made my life hell. My husband said he did it because he had a crush on me. It didnt feel like that. Years later when I went to my high school reunion I was going to tell him how awful he made me feel. I found out he was dead and I felt disappointed.

  35. Mimi says:

    As an fyi: Madonna is not Jewish. She never converted and is still a Catholic. Her speaking for Jews as “one of us” is both ridiculous and insulting.

    someone who had a cross burned on her lawn when a child… and that was just the beginning

  36. Tess says:

    @ Anti-icon

    Yup, America is so bad, so evil, so needing to hear a “bone of truth” delivered by a pampered, elitist celebrity on a soapbox.

    Thank yewwww Madonna. I’m speaking here for the great unwashed (as Katie Couric recently called us) who reside in flyover country.

  37. Bobby the K says:

    Ironically, Madonna wouldn’t have a career if she herself weren’t a bully, gay supporters or not.

    Yes, Hitler started the exterminations before the start of WWII. Disabled children, the elderly, etc.
    German citizens dragged away and killed. And, again yes, stories of this were coming out before the invasion of Poland or anything else.

    If there is one thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.

    And on this Remeberance Day we could ask ourselves if anything else like this is happening in the world today, and again the answer would be yes.

  38. RHONYC says:


    *eyeroll* 🙁

  39. Michele H says:

    I was disappointed to read that Madonna sat by quietly while her uber-macho ex, Guy Richie, and his friends routinely made homophobic comments about her own gay brother. I believe that she knew Guy was a homophobe when she married him – I just can’t understand why someone who is so supportive of the gay community could allow such bullying to go on in her own home. She’s a flake and I don’t think that she ever does of says anything unless it gets her publicity. She’s a poser.

  40. sassy says:

    THANK YOU michele H!!!! Exactly!!! She doesn’t really support the gay community, only when it serves her…

  41. The_Porscha says:

    One of the best signs at the Rally to Restore Sanity had a picture of Hitler’s mustache crossed out and underneath said, “Nobody is Hitler but Hitler.”

    Same idea here, Madge. The Holocaust is the Holocaust. Everything else is everything else. This isn’t the oppression olympics. We don’t have to compare our suffering to someone else’s suffering to prove our suffering is legit.

  42. MJ says:

    Madonna hasn’t “become one of those people” . . . she’s made her whole living by jumping onto trends! That’s all she does.

    And not fitting in? Yes she was a cheerleader, and by all accounts, was the excluding type who made other girls feel bad. So boo f-ing hoo.

  43. Dany says:

    @ The_Porscha

    Well spoken! I totally agree.

  44. PsychicEyes says:


    “We don’t have to compare our suffering to someone else’s suffering to prove our suffering is legit”.

    Exactly, thank you for higlighting this important fact.

  45. neelyo says:

    Amen Porscha!

    In that first picture, she looks like she’s teaching everyone a VERY important lesson.

  46. Az says:

    I can’t stand this woman. Did she speak in the utterly fake British accent? She is so annoying. People talk about Gwyneth Paltrow being patronizing (I don’t like her either, or the record) but to me Madonna is worse because she seems to have forgotten that she wasn’t born in a manor on the moors of England with a silver spoon in her mouth… such a poser!

  47. bored says:

    You know… I read this article just so I could read the comments on it. I was expecting every comment to be in moronic agreement but was surprised to find that no one did! Thank god! Bullying isnt fair, its not nice, but for christs sake… youve got bigger issues if youre killing yourself because people are laughing at you for being gay. And Madonna… youre f-ing ridiculous.

  48. Chris says:

    The point is she’s opposed to gay bullying. So good on her.

  49. Jenna says:

    unnecessary comparison! how can you compare bullying and the effing holocaust and slavery/lynching??? (bc that’s where lynching stemmed from!)

    FYI– all kids get bullied. I’m sick of this “gay youth” bullshit. EVERY KID GETS BULLILED AND IT’S UNACCEPTABLE. Why should SO much emphasis be put on the gay youth? Obviously they don’t know how to deal with their issues and talk them out bc they kill themselves. But EVERYONE ELSE GOES THROUGH THIS TOO. Fuck! Time to grow thicker skin!

  50. wunderkindt says:

    Gay bullying is wrong in and of itself, doesnt need to be compared to other things in order to make it ‘wrong’.

    It is just simply wrong!

    This is a human and civil rights issue.

  51. Miss A says:

    ENOUGH with the Holocaust comparisons! It doesn’t make you look hip, thoughtful or smart. Just stupid.

  52. redlips says:

    STFU Madge! We don’t need you to tell any of us about Bullying.

    Good gawd, she is so into “self” promotion!

  53. paranel says:

    Oh my god, her face in this photos. She looked way too pulled and stretched. She looks bad.

  54. kiki says:

    I agree w/Kaiser. Madonna is jumping on the bandwagon to keep herself relevant.

    She has a gay brother, named Christopher. And she’s treated him like CRAP for years. In his book, he said that she outed him to the press without consulting w/him. She also dropped him like a hot potato b/c he didn’t get along with Guy Ritchie. Then, she stuck him with some of her own bills b/c he was sick of her self-centered behavior and told her so. This women has been a bully for years. In his book, Rupert Everett said he saw Madonna + Gwyneth make fun of J Lo to her face at a Versace party.

    Madonna is a complete hypocrite and a liar. The fact that she would use bullying/suicides to get herself attention makes me ill. She is beyond gross.

  55. wonderwoman21 says:

    @ Jenna, I think gay bullying has a more damaging effect on kids because homosexuality is frowned upon by general society and not accepted, thus removing any form of support that may have existed otherwise. Sometimes the families of these gay youth turn their backs on them as well. Homosexuality cannot be changed, it is something the person will have to live as the rest of their life. Some people are gay and don’t want to be gay, you can imagine that realizing in your early teens you are something you don’t wanna be and can’t change is a horrible feeling. Imagine the self hatred. This combined with the immaturity and stress of use can and sometimes is deadly. I was mildly bullied in middle school for my clothes, hair, demeanor, the way I spoke. What did I do? I changed my clothes, I fixed my hair, I changed the way I acted to avoid that ridicule. Gay kids can’t change. They don’t have that chance, it isn’t an option. It a very me-against-the-world situation that they see as never changing.

  56. wonderwoman21 says:

    * stress of youth, not use oops

  57. Liana says:

    So the cheerleader club kid who routinely bullies people to get her way was bullied in high school. Bullshit.

  58. Jayna says:

    LOL All the haters. I adore Madonna. All the rest are pretenders to the throne. Twenty-five years into her career Confessions album sold 12 million albums. Her last two concerts have been the highest grossing of all time for a solo artist.

    Her heart is in the right place on this.

  59. kiki says:

    LOL @ people who worship narcissistic celebs.

    Madonna doesn’t have a heart–she has an empty vault filled with cash and a big picture of herself–where her heart should be.

    Just read her own brother’s book. She’s a complete narcissist. Yrs ago, she threw a geisha party. Everyone had to wear geisha costumes. Her brother was there, and his costume caught fire. Gwyneth helped him put the fire out. Madonna didn’t ask if he was burnt or if he was ok. She became mad that he was out of costume, and it was ruining THE LOOK of her party!

    There’s plenty of people she’s been nasty to over the years. For her to beg for attention by acting like a victim is pretty despicable.

    Who cares about someone’s accomplishments if she’s a completely shitty human being? Isn’t being human more important?

  60. CATS says:

    I think there’s a hell of a lot more abuse going on in the world, than just some first-world gay bullying.

    Of course that doesn’t make it alright, but there are some SERIOUS human rights violations going on worldwide.

    I think that’s where we should start.

    Gay bullying isn’t a good thing, but the rape of young Tibetan nuns is worse, don’t you think?

  61. JC126 says:

    11 million people died in the Holocaust, not 6 million. I hate it when anybody’s forgotten, and I was very glad to see all the groups listed in the story, thank you for that.
    With all due respect, to the person who said “I don’t know anybody who hasn’t been bullied” – I highly doubt that’s true. Razzing, teasing each other, that’s not bullying. Bullying is totally different.
    I like the current emphasis against bullying, but it should be against ALL bullying, not just against gay kids. The effects of bullying can be life long, and it’s pretty dismissive to just say “grow a thicker skin”. It’s not that simple. Really.

  62. Po says:

    Madonna is an ass, has always been and ass, and will always be one. I find it laughable that she discusses bullying but it occurs to me that maybe she has never considered herself one.

  63. Kloops says:

    Cosign Tess et al. Bullying, the holocaust and lynching are stand alone issues. Each wrong and awful but different in scope and effect. Besides, Madonna is a notorious bully. The irony is too much.

  64. Lauren says:

    She has some nerve pretending to be a victim. She’s a complete bitch. In Truth or Dare, she treated many of her dancers like shit. She was sued by some of them for back wages. Then she treated Sandra Bernhard, Carrie Ann Moss, etc. poorly. Even Gwyneth has talked about how Madonna is not nice to her.

    And, good for Madonna for taking a timely issue and making it ALL ABOUT HERSELF, as usual. Remember her eulogy
    for Michael Jackson? It was all ME, ME, ME! She’s sickening.

  65. texasmom says:

    Obviously there’s no GOOD bullying out there, but I do think gay bullying is its own animal. A lot of gay kids don’t have a safe harbor ANYWHERE, not even at home. Being told by almost all your peers that there is something intrinsically wrong with you, having a description of your nature as a standard insult all around you (even my 2nd grader had heard “that’s so gay” as an insult), having your spiritual leader publicly despise you, having a large chunk of national discourse openly vilify you (when conservative decry gay marriage as somehow dirtying all marriages) — I think this stuff is qualitatively different than most bullying. At least in the US, our culture sends lots of messages to gay-bashers that maybe their behavior is, well, ok. It’s not something you are going to grow out of or get away from when you are older, it is your very nature that is a target.

    I don’t think it is like the socially-sanctioned mass violence of the lynching era, nor the state-sponsored genocide of Jews (and so many more), but it is it’s own kind of hell.

    We don’t have to have a contest or a test on who is the most oppressed now OR historically. If it is bad, we should work on improving it.

  66. Sandy says:

    She should adopt a gay Jewish refugee from Ethiopia.

  67. Confuzzle says:

    “this is America.”

    Said with a faux British accent?

  68. Liana says:

    With all due respect, to the person who said “I don’t know anybody who hasn’t been bullied” – I highly doubt that’s true.

    Agreed. I wasn’t bullied, nor did I bully. I kind of just floated through school doing my music and acting thing.

  69. becca says:

    It honestly makes my blood boil when people try to use the Holocaust as a comparison. Use things like Darfur Madonna or ever better yet? The disgusting things going on in the Congo – that not a soul is able to handle properly so it can stop.