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Sinead O'Connor Accuses Prince Of Being A 'Violent Abuser Of Women' And Shares Details Of Troubling Assault

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Sinead O'Connor Memoir Says Prince Attacked Her And Chased Her Down A Highway

Sinead O’Connor once said that she’d share the details of her run-in with Prince when she was much older, in a book that she finally writes. Well, that time has come, and in a new memoir, O’Connor does mention the incident that occurred all those years ago. As the events come out, it makes us wonder whether or not we’ve gone too easy on Prince for his “quirky” behavior. 

O’Connor flips a great deal of the stories we’ve all come to know about her life by writing about her own version of events in the new book, “Rememberings.” The Prince encounter is something she’s discussed before, but now we know exactly what transpired between the two of them. 

Was Prince abusive? Details of the story of when Prince attacked Sinead O'Connor

O’Connor also told the story while sitting for an interview with the New York Times about “Rememberings.” She describes showing up to Prince’s mansion after being invited, following the successful cover she performed of his song “Nothing Compares 2 U.” 

The first troubling thing she details is how he berated her for swearing in interviews. Prince had been documented for trying to monitor his own language publicly, but maybe less known is the fact that he even monitored the language of those around him. Not only that, but he was said to be very critical of an individual’s behavior. 

When his ex-wife Mayte Garcia was dancing in his employment, he controlled the food that she ate and docked her pay when he found whipped cream and cookies at her makeup station. Garcia, who was singled out by Prince when she was 16, would marry the pop star in 1996 at the age of 22. 

O’Connor said that Prince then had his butler offer her soup repeatedly even though she continued to turn down the offer. Maybe a bit odd in itself, but when painted against a backdrop of repeated controlling behavior, it offers another piece of a larger look at Prince’s behavior. 

Garcia revealed to the Daily Mail that Prince wouldn’t allow her to call him. If he needed her, he would call, and that was the only direction the contact was allowed to go. In addition, Prince kept a private hair salon in their home, which he didn’t allow Garcia to use. 

Eventually, during the night of O’Connor’s visit, Prince somehow convinced her to have a pillow fight. When she agreed, he smacked her with something hard he’d shoved inside one of the pillowcases. 

O’Connor says that she escaped on foot in the night, and that Prince chased her down the highway in his car, eventually leaving the vehicle behind and jumping out at her in the dark. There’s no explanation offered for how she managed to get away. 

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“You’ve got to be crazy to be a musician,” says O’Connor in her interview with the Times. “But there’s a difference between being crazy and being a violent abuser of women.” 

Prince’s ex-wife, Garcia, once told the story about how he seduced her. They’d been involved for a few years since he’d met her standing outside his tour bus, and one day when she was 19, she says he told her that it was time. 

“Time for what?” she asked. 

“Time to get you on birth control,” he told her

When they had their first child, who died of a rare genetic disorder shortly after birth. A week later, Prince lied to Oprah in an interview. He made the decision for the couple to lie, and to not be present when their son passed. 

Prince is labeled "quirky" for his problematic behavior while Sinead O'Connor's SNL appearance ruined her career 

The Internet is full of stories about odd run-ins with Prince. Some of them are funny, some are eyebrow-raising, and others may be ripe for reexamination. While Charlie Murphy once told the story of how Prince beat his crew at basketball after coming right from the club in full “Zorro” dress, there are also stories that demonstrate a darker side of the pop star. Too many to brush off as oddball behavior. 

If it were Elon Musk or Joe Rogan chasing a woman down the highway, we’d be having a very different conversation. Because there’s a mythos built up around Prince that’s made him into a very unique cultural icon, in the same way that Bill Murray or Jeff Goldblum enjoy their fame. 

Even when you examine a list of the weirdest Prince stories — and there are a number of them out there — that’s the sort of take you’re going to find. Instead of outright demonstrating a pattern of abusive behavior, these are simply “weird” stories about an oddball cultural icon. In a sense, we’ve made Prince untouchable. 

Someone like Sinead O’Connor, who doesn’t have much left to lose in terms of cultural clout, can point these things out. It’s worth noting that there are plenty of stories about O’Connor, too, though many of them can be attributed to the traumatic effects of a lifetime of abuse and gaslighting

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In her memoir, she points out that she never wanted to be a pop star at all. She thought she was a punk rocker, a symbol of the counterculture. And when she ripped up the image of the Pope on Saturday Night Live and it became the turning point that destroyed her career, she says that she would have done it again. “It was brilliant,” she said. 

How did Prince die before his accusations caught up with him?

Prince was a sex icon. He was androgynous, attractive, provocative, a musical virtuoso whose star burned bright enough to attract every earth-bound moth alive to see it. Women flock to him in his videos, they convince their husbands to buy them tickets to Minneapolis, and they feed him whipped cream from their fingers. 

Garcia paints a picture of Prince keeping her close by for years. He flew her around, got her an apartment, and called her only when he needed her. This was a man who was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it

The image of Prince has been clear for decades. It was curated and established for the purpose of selling albums, but perhaps it was more genuine and close to the real man than we know. 

There are plenty of men with similar stories who have somehow escaped cancel culture and enjoy vibrant and active careers and legacies. Maybe one day, they’ll have an older woman write a memoir with new details of their abuses, too. Or maybe, we should just be paying more attention to what they’re already telling us.

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Kevin Lankes, MFA, is an editor and author. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Here Comes Everyone, Pigeon Pages, Owl Hollow Press, The Huffington Post, The Riverdale Press, and more.