R&B icon Raphael Saadiq found himself on the defensive after a photo he posted on social media showing himself sitting next to fellow singer and accused rapist Marilyn Manson went viral for all the wrong reasons.
The two were together in Chicago on Thursday night for the latest live listening session for Kanye West‘s frequently delayed album, “Donda,” which has reached mythical status as the rapper markets it at various stadiums across the country despite the glaring absence of a lead single or any real proof there is actually an album coming at all. But more on that later.
Saadiq was taking heat because he didn’t appear to be distancing himself from Manson, who is facing accusations of rape from his former fiancee Evan Rachel Wood and being sued for sexual assault, human trafficking and unlawful imprisonment by at least three other women.
The photo of Saadiq and Manson showed them sitting next to each other, not looking remotely friendly, in what appeared to be a locker room at Soldier’s Field, where Kanye’s event was being held.
The backlash was apparently swift, and Saadiq fired back at critics and claimed he was unaware of Manson’s legal issues. Saadiq said he would remove the image from his Instagram, but not before he gave people trying to cancel him a piece of his mind.
“I wasn’t aware of his allegations,so please forgive the post, I wouldn’t want to offend anyone who’s been abused,” Saadiq began before taking aim at the critics who he suggested were expressing fake outrage.
Saadiq said all of his social media posts are about “love and positive music,” topics that he said routinely get low engagement from his followers and others.
But the second he posted a photo of himself and Mason, his Instagram blew up with negativity, he said in no uncertain terms:
“… You MF don’t ring my bell for positive post, I guess that’s why negative shit is so popular, y’all sit around and wait for shit like this, my post and views are very low numbers, and I like it like that, but as soon as it something y’all don’t like, Millions of new people hit the page, y’all should try ring my bell for all the positive things, click on a good song or a beautiful positive waterfall or mountains, but y’all go straight crickets for Gods creative nature, who’s really the DEVIL!!! It might be you.”
He concluded his post with the hashtag #Donda, showing love for Kanye, whose support for Donald Trump was similarly controversial.
The photo, which was posted early Friday morning, was still live on Saadiq’s Instagram account as of noon.
To be sure, Marilyn Manson’s inclusion in any Kanye West project would be unexpected, sex crime allegations notwithstanding. At one point during the event Thursday night, Kanye brought out not just Manson but also rapper DaBaby, who has been facing his own calls for being canceled after he went on a homophobic rant during a concert earlier this year.
Considering those facts, Saadiq seemed like a curious target for criticism when there were so many other viable options for people to choose from.