As Pitchfork‘s Ryan Dombal noted in a post earlier this morning, the misogynist swipe Questlove and The Roots took at Michele Bachmann last week—by playing Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” during her appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon—wasn’t received by everyone as the harmless joke the band intended. In fact, many people (and not just those in Bachmann’s camp, mind you) found the sexist act downright offensive. Imagine that!
During their tenure as house band for “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”, the Roots– led by drummer and musical mastermind Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson– have taken many opportunities to poke fun or pay tribute to guests by choosing punny, sly, or referential walk-on music. Oftentimes, these mini-gags double as the best punchlines of the night.
But many thought they went too far with their pick for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann last week: Fishbone’s 1985 track ”Lyin’ Ass Bitch”. A minor political firestorm followed, with the likes of Bill O’Reilly as well as many women’s groups voicing their disapproval. Bachmann herself called the incident sexist, and said it “wouldn’t be tolerated if it was Michelle Obama and shouldn’t be tolerated for a conservative woman, either.”
From the interview:
Pitchfork: Do you regret playing that walk-on music for Michele Bachmann?
?uestlove: It wasn’t like a chess move where you have to think 12 steps ahead; you’re just, like, “Fuck, all right, I’m gonna do it,” in a kamikaze-type way. And I really didn’t think about how it could be perceived as a misogynist swipe– it didn’t hit me until my [Twitter] timeline started showing up that it was seen that way. I was like, “Fuck, I forgot ‘bitch’ is actually in the title.”
It deeply offended a lot of women’s groups and non-Bachmann supporters, and for that I’m deeply sorry. I’m not parading like I’m the poster boy for the feminist movement, but those who truly know me know that that’s not me. I was really just going with her whole revisionist history angle, I wasn’t calling it out on her being a woman.
Whether Questlove’s statement will be taken as a sincere apology, a half-assed attempt at backpeddling (“I forgot ‘bitch’ is actually in the title.” That’s your excuse? Really?!), or nothing more than straight-up damage control is still up for review. You can read the interview in its entirety over at Pitchfork and decide for yourself.