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Saturday, 6 July, 2002, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
George Michael: Is his single offensive?
Pop star George Michael has defended his latest single, saying he did not intend the satirical Shoot The Dog to be an attack on US President George W Bush, or to cause offence to American people.
Responding to criticisms of the song, which has a cartoon video showing UK Prime Minister as a poodle on the White House lawn, the star said it was meant to provoke debate about Tony Blair.
Michael, 39, told CNN's Talkback Live TV show: "It's anti-Mr Blair and anti-Mr Blair's reluctance to challenge Mr Bush. It's not anti-American in any sense."
But US callers to the programme appeared to perceive the video as an attack on the US, and there were reportedly boos from the studio audience.
Has George Michael gone too far this time? Should pop stars keep out of politics or is he right to express his views?
This debate is now closed. See below for a selection of your comments.
I am sure that the American people and their president are big enough to take criticism from some obscure foreign pop act. This single is not offensive, it's just ignorant, pointless and self-indulgent - a true reflection of its creator.
Is it my imagination or is the video a dig at politics in general? If George Michael wants to take the mickey out of other people then let him.
Ed Karten, UK
George Michael has correctly identified the concern we should all show. America has the potential to be the most dangerous country in the world and it is right that we should support the US when necessary but also be able and prepared to step back and question that support, which I don't think Blair does enough. Congratulations George Michael for having the guts to bring this issue to light, knowing that controversy would result.
Of course it's offensive, but it's very humorous. But he's just expressing an opinion and what or why should anyone do anything about it?
Yes, it's very offensive for the poor poodle....
Jackie McKerrell, Australia
Pop/rock stars should become involved in political matters only if they have something positive to say, like Sir Bob Geldof, and Bono.
He may say he didn't wish to cause offence to Americans, but he has succeeded. I don't think he'll be touring the USA to promote his records, since 11 September, US immigration has become more stringent and with his criminal past I'd imagine they ask him to take the next plane home.
Russell Hope, London, EU
Bush and Blair are both offensive. However, poodles are OK.
George Michael is wheeling out an over-used and tired analogy of the US/UK relationship. He adds nothing to the work of genuine political satirists, and clearly belies the need to generate some interest in his product.
And so what if all George Michael is doing is trying to pull a cheap publicity stunt? Isn't that what being a businessman is all about? Don't other singers and bands do the same?
Tim, NYC, NY US
Everyone here knows that if it were an American or German pop singer criticising the Queen and/or British PM, then there would probably be an outrage from the Brits! Again, we Americans aren't required to like or agree with George Michael's video. We can criticise him and his video the way we want.
George Michael is entitled to voice his views on Tony Blair. Just as we're all entitled to have our opinions on Club Tropicana, Wake me up before you go go and all those other dodgy songs George has inflicted on us!
Pop and politics make a very dull combination. John Lennon's all-time worst album was full of political songs, and quite rightly very few people bought it. In the eighties, Paul Weller's career lost its way when he concentrated on politics rather than what he was good at - writing interesting, tuneful songs. So politics are all very well, but is it a song that people will want to listen to?
George Michael should be prime minister!
I think it highly offensive. As for his political observations, he has about as much a grip on what's important and necessary as your typical Daily Mirror reader.
If it takes some ropey old superstar from Watford to let our American chums know that as a nation we are not overly impressed with Blair's pandering to Bush then so be it. I would tell them myself but I doubt they would listen would they?
We, in the US, have tended to think any country that disagrees with us must be an enemy. I appreciate George Michael's attempt to get Mr Blair to at least appear to think for himself.
Jamie Bessich, USA
As a British citizen, George Michael has every right to express his concerns about Blair's apparent pandering to Bush. It is an issue of great concern in Europe at the moment. If the Americans decide to take offence at the fact that not everyone around the world happens to agree with them, then so be it. But this is a debate which must be had before it's too late.
Are we offended? Actually, the question we're all asking each other is, "Who's George Michael?"
Personally, I would like to complain on behalf of all the poodles in this world. Yet again, we are stereotyped into this image of a timid and strangely-pruned lap-dog. On behalf of all those feisty poodles who retain their natural coat, bark at postmen, and nip the heels of politicians, I would like to say to Mr Michael: this is caninism, and WE WILL SUE!
Ian Phillips, UK
George Michael would do anything to get some attention for one of his singles to disguise his remarkable lack of any real musical talent.
It is good to see someone exercising their right to free speech, but the only thing more chilling than the public response is the way George Michael is now backtracking and censoring himself. We appear to be losing the ability to speak freely.
George Michael is entitled to his opinion. I have seen the video and can't see how anyone could find it offensive. It was more amusing than anything else. What I find interesting is the attempt to stifle any debate by so-called "patriotic" Americans. If you are a true patriot you should be questioning what the government does.
Who cares? George Michael has not had a hit in 10 years. Probably just a last-ditch attempt to remain relevant in today's society.
Just shoot the truth! And everything will be OK again.
I cannot believe there are morons who would let him influence them politically. He's a performer! This man implying that he has a political clue makes him a walking talking logical fallacy. Then again, OJ Simpson did Isotoner commercials, and I suppose he is an expert on gloves.
Some people say he's not qualified to comment on politics as he has no formal political background. I wonder they have any clear idea who IS qualified? They assume that because someone is wearing a suit and speaking sombrely on television, they must have some kind of credentials. No doubt Mr Michael can be accused of having his own agenda, ie publicity. Who looks at the agenda of people paid by tobacco companies, oil companies, and others?
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