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Saturday, 6 July, 2002, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
George Michael: Is his single offensive?
Blair, Bush & George Michael
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.
Simon Ashall, London, UK

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.
Karen, UK

Politics is the new rock'n'roll

Ed Karten, UK
I find his music rather dull since I've grown up and his "political" views of no relevance whatsoever, whether they be satirical or not. I think fading musicians have started to believe the politicians' spin that politics is the new rock'n'roll.
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.
Su Goodacre, UK

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?
Lawrence, UK

Yes, it's very offensive for the poor poodle....
Petros Komodromos, Paphos, Cyprus

I'm running out to buy 10 copies

Jackie McKerrell, Australia
I'm running out to buy 10 copies if only to show support for someone who dares to express their opinion in the "democratic" West. It is NOT anti-American to criticise the American Government, it is anti-democratic to deny someone the right to express their opinion.
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.
Peter Bolton, UKUS

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.
Gavin Pearson, English in Detroit, USA

The US is scared of debate

Russell Hope, London, EU
The US is scared of debate. Though the video is simplistic, it does raise some points echoed by established politicians and commentators. In any case, isn't this the kind of freedom of expression that the Americans keep telling us they're fighting to protect?
Russell Hope, London, EU

Bush and Blair are both offensive. However, poodles are OK.
Penelope Kelly, US

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.
Jules, UK

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?
Jennifer, UK

Hopefully we are sophisticated enough to accept this for what it is

Bring on the protest songs!!! Except make them better than this one, please, and more socially responsible. This goes hand in hand with an open and healthy society. Hopefully, WHEN this video is released in the US, it will encourage people to discuss issues rather than rely on the media to form opinions. Hopefully we are sophisticated enough to accept this for what it is. Personally, I find gratuitous violence and the ghetto "attitude" prevalent in today's music videos to be much more offensive and irresponsible.

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.
Kim, US

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!
Peter, UK

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?
Allan Forrester, UK

George Michael should be prime minister!
Anon, UK

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.
Neal, USA/UK

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?
Stephen McCarthy, UK

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.
Jack, USA

It's idiotic and offensive

Jamie Bessich, USA
The man's allowed to sing about what he wants. It's idiotic, and perhaps even offensive, just as Eminem's new video portraying the singer giving Mr Cheney another heart attack is offensive. We can complain, but ultimately Mr Michael and others like him will be judged by the consumers.
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.
Liz, UK

Are we offended? Actually, the question we're all asking each other is, "Who's George Michael?"
Robert del Valle, USA

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!
Scamp, UK

Criticism is the lifeblood of any democratic nation

Ian Phillips, UK
A nation so proud of its democracy and freedom of speech should be able to deal with a pop video. The political cartoon (of which this is a crude version) has been a mainstay of political debate for centuries. Yet again the knee-jerk post-9/11 patriotism attempts to silence criticism without realising that criticism is the lifeblood of any democratic nation.
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.
Dan, UK

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.
Tom, UK

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.
Jonathan Michaud, USA

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.
Steven, New York

I am more surprised that anyone still listens to George Michael

Brian, USA
I am not a Bush supporter, but I am more surprised that anyone still listens to George Michael. I guess someone still needs to perform at the county fairs.
Brian, USA

Just shoot the truth! And everything will be OK again.
Prometheus, Earth

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.
Vic, USA

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?
Chris Cormier, Canada

See also:

05 Jul 02 | Entertainment
02 Jul 02 | Entertainment
27 Jun 02 | Entertainment
17 Feb 00 | Americas
18 Sep 99 | Entertainment
22 Dec 98 | Entertainment
05 Dec 98 | Entertainment
17 Apr 98 | Americas
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