Bono may have done some amazing things in this world, but he certainly has his share of haters. News Australia reports that it was announced last week that U2’s “Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour” might bypass Australia, and the simple announcement unleashed a tirade of hate.
— U2-InTheNameOfLove (@U2ITNOL2UU2) January 8, 2017
But not, as you might expect, from Australian fans of Bono and U2, who were disappointed that the tour might not come Down Under. Those people, it seems, went to the band’s Facebook page with their request that the tour includes Australia, and they received the reply that the band is “working on it.”
Instead, the hate originated from those who claim to loathe Bono and U2 so much that just the mere mention of the man or his band is enough to set their fury alight.
The messages of hate seem to have a common theme: that Bono is “smug” and “pompous,” and that the band is “overrated.”
One comment in particular, from Melbourne’s 3AW radio station’s program producer Ken Francis, gathered a lot of support.
“U2 are easily the most overrated band in history. The fact they’re still the biggest band in the world says a lot about the caliber of bands that are around today. They’ve let the ‘holier than thou’ persona take over. They’re so overblown and pompous. The joke that started out about Bono thinking he was God has somehow materialized to be true. That’s the major problem — Bono needs to stop trying to save the world and get back to being a rock star. I think they’ve lost their way.”
— Irish Times Video (@irishtimesvideo) January 6, 2017
It seems that it is not the music of Bono or U2 that have people so irate, but the fact that Bono is so overtly political and that he uses his rock superstardom to fuel his charity work.
Naomi Dinnen has written a book on U2, set to be released this year, and expressed the opinion that Bono and his bandmates have the right to use their rockstar status to fuel their charity work.
“[Bono] has a right to be considered a world leader. Forty years of dedicating your life to [charity] is a huge commitment. There’s no way U2 are billionaires in it just for the money. To them it’s about what they can achieve as both musicians and social justice activists. They don’t need the money so why else would they still be doing it after 40 years?”
Of course, part of the acrimony towards Bono started when he was announced as one of the recipients of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year Award, which has people understandably confused, according to the Washington Post. The 56-year-old singer, who has always identified himself as a man (as far as his fans are concerned), has just won an award that is given by Glamor magazine only to women.
Bono was deemed the first-ever male on Glamour’s Women of the Year list not because he’s an influential woman, but because of his Poverty is Sexist campaign, as explained by the magazine. His campaign has the goal to provide support to the poorest women in the world.
U2. Bono: "future Irish prime minister?"
Panini Smash Hits Collection, 1984. pic.twitter.com/BHTO0UhsFC
— Carter Collectables (@CarterCollectab) January 6, 2017
It’s the first time in the Glamour awards’ 27-year history that a man has been included in the magazine’s annual list of accomplished and influential women. In its statement explaining Bono’s award, Glamour said that it was time to finally recognize the importance of men in the fight for women’s rights.
Glamour claims that men such as Bono are essential for the fight for women’s equality as well as the success of feminism.
“We’re proud to name that rock star, Bono, our first Man of the Year.”
Glamour magazine is praising Bono for choosing to focus on the rights of women. The magazine says that when a celebrated male rock star – who could do anything with his own life – decides to fight for women’s equality, it’s “worth celebrating.”
Bono being honored with the award reminded many of his fans about one episode from NBC’s Parks and Recreation. In the episode in question, Ron Swanson, the main character, wins the Dorothy Everton Smythe Woman of the Year award.
In the episode, the award committee explains to people, who’re clearly puzzled with their decision, that every year they honor a woman and “frankly, nobody cares.” But who can explain Glamour’s dead-serious, no-jokes-involved decision to honor Bono with the Women of the Year Award?
Watch Bono Accept His “Ridiculous” Glamour Woman Of The Year Award
— Michael Nelson (@micmurphynelson) December 16, 2016
People are apparently confused, and some women aren’t exactly happy about it, according to NME. Women complain that men aren’t suffering from a lack of attention in society, so why would Glamour all of a sudden give the spotlight to Bono when there are so many women who deserve this award more?
A user named OhNoSheTwitnt said on Twitter that Bono winning the Woman of the Year award is “just another example of a man getting a job despite there being women more qualified to do it.”
However, many social media users seem to have found a reasonable explanation as to why Glamour would make such a seemingly ridiculous move. That’s because they needed to ramp up attention for their Woman of the Year list, so what better way to do that than to include Bono – a man – in it?
However, there are women who defend the award committee’s decision to honor Bono. Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent and a 2005 Woman of the Year recipient, wrote that Bono is “the perfect choice.”
“I think Bono is the perfect choice for this first-time honor because, now 56, he’s been trying to do good for as long as he’s been making music.”
Amanpour also added that she had reached out to Bono to ask him to comment on his headline-making win. The U2 singer reportedly told her that he doesn’t “deserve” the award but is nonetheless “grateful.”
“But I’m grateful for this award as a chance to say the battle for gender equality can’t be won unless men lead it along with women.”
Besides Bono, there were actually women who were among the winners of this year’s Women of the Year Awards. The list included Simone Biles, the record-breaking Olympic gymnast; Emily Doe, the Stanford sexual assault survivor; and three founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Billboard reports that when Bono went up onstage at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards ceremony in November of 2016, he admitted that “it is a bit ridiculous” and proceeded to read a selection of mean tweets about himself.
Watch Bono’s refreshingly self-deprecating acceptance speech here.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]