Boy George has well and truly divided opinions this morning after a radio interview with Brisbane’s 4BC radio station ended in a matter of minutes with a dramatic hang up from the 80’s icon.
Appearing to promote this year’s season of The Voice, the judge immediately took issue with host Neil Breen’s introduction which reflected on the pop star’s rise to fame in the 1980s.
“If you grew up like I did as a teenager in the 1980s then Boy George was bigger than a big deal here in Australia,” Breen kicked off the introduction after playing a sample of Karma Chameleon. "He was massive.”
“His band Culture Club dominated the Australian singles chart from late ‘82 into ‘83 with two songs. Karma Chameleon was obviously their most notable one that we remember, but Do You Really Want To Hurt Me as well was their breakthrough song."
It turns out the early hits with Culture Club, and the use of past tense, are touchy subjects indeed for the star, who quickly let the host know he was far from impressed with his spiel.
‘Awkward’ interaction that led to hang up
“I’m nervous,” Neil admitted.
“Especially after that terrible comment about my music,” Boy George hit back instantly. “There were about 10 records you missed that were huge massive hits …. I mean, please.”
The host’s attempts to backpedal, clarifying that George ‘was’ a massive deal in his home, simply made The Voice judge more furious.
“Please don’t talk about me like I live in past context,” the former Culture Club frontman interrupted him. “It’s really insulting.”
When Neil argued he was simply ‘reintroducing’ the star to an audience who first got to know him at the height of his music career, George insisted: ‘I’m on TV, everybody knows who I am.’
The interview ended after barely a minute with the star hanging up the phone as the host scrambled to rectify the situation.
“Sometimes pop stars, they are funny,” Neil Breen reflected. “If you play their old song, they disown it.”
The volatile situation quickly sparked outrage online, with Boy George tweeting about the encounter calling it a ‘dark ages’ interview.
After four years on @TheVoiceAU apparently I still need to be reintroduced to the Australian public. I must get a bigger hat! Just did one of the 'dark ages' radio interviews that ended with me hanging up!— Boy George (Boomer) (@BoyGeorge) July 2, 2020
“After four years on @TheVoiceAU apparently I still need to be reintroduced to the Australian public,” he wrote. “I must get a bigger hat! Just did one of the 'dark ages' radio interviews that ended with me hanging up!”
Fan unimpressed with ‘rude’ moment
The situation saw fans somewhat divided, some agreeing with the star’s reaction, others slamming it as ‘petulant’ and ‘rude’.
“Omg that was so strange,” one woman wrote in response to Neil Breen’s tweet about the situation. “I love Boy George but not a big fan of the way that all ended. Why was he so sensitive about your questions? Seemed very harmless to me. I’m kind of shocked he questioned you.”
“You tried several times to appease his ego,” another pointed out. “Very rude of him to hang up on you.”
One kept it slightly more blunt in his assessment of the situation: “Massive d*ckhead Boy George”.
Others argued the introduction was an unfair reflection on a career they argue is ‘as relevant’ today as it was thirty years ago.
“If they still don't know who you are at this moment, they aren't worthy of an interview,” one fan wrote.
“Who does an interview without doing any research?” another wondered. “He was talking like you'd been sitting around doing nothing for the past 3 decades & then "pow" you're on The Voice!”
The overall reaction, however, was not overly sympathetic to The Voice judge, most agreeing it was a ‘rude’ display from the star given the host had all of thirty seconds to summarise his career in the intro.
“How rude and disrespectful,” one tweet read.
Another argued that if the star was happy to make royalties from the early hits he should also be happy to discuss them on air.
“Boy George accepts royalties for those younger years but isn't prepared to discuss them with a radio station targeted toward kids of that era,” one man pointed out. “Good way to ruin greatest hits sales.”