Michigan mayor fires back at Madonna’s dis
Madonna, saying something controversial? Perish the thought.
The object of her scorn fighting back? Of course.
The mayor of Rochester, Michigan, has written an open letter to the venerable pop star, taking her to task for saying she never wanted to go back the town where she went to high school.
“I can’t be around basic, provincial-thinking people,” she told Howard Stern last week on his SiriusXM satellite radio program.
You could almost hear the steam coming out of Mayor Bryan Barnett’s ears.
“It’s like someone calling one of your kids ugly,” the Detroit Free Press quoted Barnett as saying. “You’re not going to let that go by without a response.”
In his letter, published Monday in the Free Press, Barnett said the city’s recent achievements are anything but provincial.
“Our school district is one of the top performing in the state and boasts two Blue Ribbon Schools, the most in Michigan. Our Universities are among the fastest growing in the Midwest and are rich with cultural and ethnic diversity,” he wrote.
“We design and build more robots than any other city in North America, and Rochester Hills residents and businesses have been granted over 900 patents, nearly one a day, over the last three years. Not a typical achievement you would associate with ‘simple or basic’ people,” he wrote.
He also noted the city was also named one of the 10 best places to live by Money magazine.
“We are many things, Madonna, but basic and provincial minded we are not!” Barnett wrote. “I invite you back to Rochester Hills to see who we are and what we believe in. While we certainly don’t need your stamp of approval, I am quite confident we would earn it.”
Not surprisingly, some Rochester Hills citizens weren’t thrilled with Madonna’s comments.
“Makes me proud to live in Rochester Hills after reading this letter to Madonna by @MayorBarnett,” Twitter user LoganBrown97 wrote.
And although Madonna hasn’t responded to the fracas, she of course found some defenders on social media.
“Why is everyone mad Madonna said Rochester was basic?” Twitter user itsleah wrote. “It IS basic. I thought that was the appeal? Small towns AREN’T for everyone, dummies.”
Of course, Madonna is no stranger to controversy, and she’s angered organizations a lot bigger and more powerful than Rochester City Hall.
Remember the 1980s, when her “Like a Prayer” video angered the Catholic church? Or the 1990s, when it seemed a camera couldn’t turn her direction without capturing simulated masturbation?
Then there was last year, when she had to backtrack after posting an Instagram photo of her son boxing, captioned with a take on the N-word.
And in January, some took offense after she posted photos of civil rights icons altered to appear like the cover of her new album.
Heck, this isn’t even the the first time the singer has dissed a place where she grew up. In a 1987 interview with Jane Pauley, she called Bay City, Michigan, where she was born, a “little smelly town in northern Michigan.”
A few moments later, Madonna followed up by saying she had “great affection” for the place.
So far, no such love for Rochester Hills. Nor has the pop icon accepted the mayor’s invite to return to her hometown for a visit.