Written By: Anton Sawyer
Poor Billie Eilish. She has become the latest poster-child for what happens when you lean into a morality system that is completely predicated on perception, and when the perception turns sour. If you are coming to this article to see a bunch of hatred towards her or her music, you’re out of luck. But if you're coming to see a former insider's viewpoint that her recent controversies may not be of her own doing, then buckle up. Her music has zero bearings on the realities of the world she’s living in. Plus she is not unique in any way, shape, or form when it comes to backlashes led by group-think against celebrities—she’s just the latest.
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In case you missed parts 1-4, check them out here:
Since the beginning of her career, she has aligned herself with many of the causes championed by the “Woke Culture” that has been fostered by the Social Justice Warriors (SJW). From Planned Parenthood to various LGBTQ+ charities, she’s raised a lot of money for each. Most of those organizations I agree with—and links are available to them in our resources section. That being said, it isn’t the organizations I have a problem with, it’s the way that Eilish has progressed her career with them being such a keystone to her success. When you make headlines that consistently espouse a specific morality, and especially if you are looked at as being the potential future of not only pop music but an entire generation, you are on a different level and will be judged as such. When you go on your Twitter and inform 63 million people all at once that you completely denounce the “All Lives Matter” Campaign as “fucking racist,” it’s a whole lot different than if I were to do it. Eilish has become a default spokesperson for every woke cause that is making headlines, and it’s because of this exposure that the massive backlash towards her has been so breathtaking.
In February of 2021, Eilish was the sweetheart of Gen Z/Alpha. Her documentary “The World’s A Little Blurry” had been released and became a hit. During the promotional tours, she was making headlines regularly and was nearly impossible to avoid. She’s become so mainstream that she is this generation’s “What is a Justin Bieber?” By July 2021 she had become a pariah and the SJW’s newest attempt at canceling.
In her recent video for the single “Lost Cause,” she’s seen as “queer-baiting.” This is defined as “a marketing technique for fiction and entertainment purposes in which creators hint at, but then do not actually depict, same-sex romance or other LQBTQ+ representation.” Around the same time, she posted an Instagram picture of her with many of the women from the video in question, with a caption stating “I love girls.” The biggest sin involving this situation is that she’s cisgender and has an older boyfriend (who has a questionable past himself—which will have to wait another time), and hasn’t apologized for these indiscretions. I mention that last part because it’s a stark juxtaposition from when Eilish was also accused of being incredibly racist due to a Tik Tok video of her going viral showing her making fun of Asian accents during the summer of 2021. In a statement on her Instagram story, the Grammy-winning singer said she was "appalled and embarrassed" by the clip. She continued with "I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this. And this is something I want to address because I'm being labeled something that I am not." An apology for the perception of racism, but not one for the queer-baiting seems interesting to some. Not me. I have a distinct feeling that the sexuality aspect is something Eilish isn’t controlling; I think it’s a manager or someone else up the food chain.
I’m not here to be a braggart or the like, but my background in music allows me to look at the entire situation from a place that most people can’t. Having worked for years in the music industry as both a journalist (with over 275 published writing credits to my real name), and as a Public Relations (PR) agent, I have seen how different elements of the industry works. And it wasn’t just a cavalcade of local acts that I covered. I interviewed/worked with Grammy-winning artists, Grammy-nominated artists, acts with Gold records, acts with Silver records (U.K.), and Spellman-winning acts (Norway’s Grammy). My original plan was to write a book about the business itself from every angle in an attempt to help new and underground bands be able to earn a living off their music. I hung out with the business people looking to learn as much as I possibly could on every level. But, COVID is awesome and I didn’t have to worry about that anymore!
The one thing I learned is that the music industry is based on cycles. One, two, or five years out. When I set up an interview with a band promoting either an album or tour, the PR company for the label would tell me the approximate time they would like it published. Whether an album or a tour, each label liked to do things their own way, but they all had about the same time-frames. They want the promotional interviews and everything to be out between 30-90 days from release or tour beginning. It’s about feeding the overall tone and feel of what that artist is trying to accomplish during the album/tour cycle. Let’s go back in time a few months and look at the Vogue Magazine cover Eilish did.
She was dressed in a way that evoked a seductiveness that had never been present in her appearance before. To a lot of fans, this was somewhat jarring given the fact that Eilish had made it clear in years prior that the reason she wore items like baggy clothes was because of her issues with body positivity. A recent interview featured in Harper’s Bazaar had her saying “I’m obviously not happy with my body, but who is?” She also questioned in the interview why anyone even cares what she looks like. My thought on all of this is from the Vogue Cover until the end of her album/tour cycle, there’s going to be some element to her appearance that is going to convey sexuality. I’m not sure if it will be more queer-baiting or what, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a more toned-down version of the “Miley Cyrus Milky-Milky-Milk-Era.” Gadzooks I hope not …
These are just theories from a place of experience, but I could be wrong. The Cancel Culture machine is incredibly powerful and has taken down many “evil-doers.” Given the amount of power they yield over the perceptions of others, it’s possible her career could take a big hit.
Sadly to say, I’m hoping that Eilish learns a lesson from this; when you go all-in on a morality based on the perceptions of others, you get these results. The herd will turn at some point, they always do. Eventually, you will make a choice (either prompted by someone else or by your own volition) that some group will see as heresy, and then expose it for all they are worth to remove the scourge of evil before them. Saving all of humanity. It’s only a matter of time, so choose wisely.
In case you missed parts 1-4, check them out here:
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