Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
- Right-wing influencers spent Monday railing against the Grammy Awards.
- They alluded that Sam Smith’s Satan-themed act and Pfizer sponsorship were part of a sinister plot.
- The US far-right has rallied around issues including anti-vax and opposing LGBTQ education.
Right-wing influencers in the US on Monday stoked moral panic over Sam Smith dressing as Satan for a performance at the Grammy Awards.
In a posting on Twitter, Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene criticized the performance and referenced anti-vaccine conspiracy theories about pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer, one of the sponsors of the awards.
Some right-wing figures have pushed baseless claims about the COVID-19 vaccines developed by the company.
“The Grammy’s featured Sam Smith’s demonic performance and was sponsored by Pfizer. And the Satanic Church now has an abortion clinic in NM that requires its patients to perform a satanic ritual before services. American Christians need to get to work,” said Greene.
—Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) February 6, 2023
—Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) February 6, 2023
In a video posted on the platform Donald Trump Jr., former President Donald Trump’s son and a right-wing influencer, lamented the performance.
He said that claims Hollywood and the entertainment industry are into Satanic rituals would be dismissed as conspiracy theories “despite all of the symbolism, despite all of the coincidence with said symbolism.”
“Maybe it’s art, but why is it always this kind of art? Why is it never, like, regular art?” he said.
And Fox News host Tucker Carlson, an influential far-right media commentator, devoted a segment of his show on Monday to criticizing the awards.
“Yeah they stormed Omaha Beach for that: Trans ideology plus Satanism, popular entertainment,” said Carlson.
—Acyn (@Acyn) February 7, 2023
Petras and Smith made history Sunday as the first openly transgender woman and first openly non-binary artist to win the Grammy for best pop duo for their single ‘Unholy.’
Their performance featured red-robed worshippers, images of flames, and Smith wearing a devil-horned top hat.
The belief that sinister elites are plotting against ordinary Americans has long been a central theme of the US Christian right, which has more recently rallied around opposition to LGBTQ education in classrooms and trans rights.
In the press room following the performance, Petras elaborated on the performance: “I think a lot of people, honestly, have kind of labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as religiously not cool.
“I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it, but then slowly realizing it doesn’t want me to be a part of it. So it’s a take on not being able to choose religion and not being able to live the way that people might want you to live, because, you know, as a trans person, I’m kind of already not wanted in religion.”