Lady Gaga upsets activists with wheelchair prop, gets egged Down Under


Image Credit: Newspix/Rex/Rex USA

Just when you thought Lady Gaga had retreated into her giant egg for a post-Born This Way-release hibernation, she’s making headlines and ruffling feathers across the Pacific Rim.

This time, though, she was the glittery target for ova of the ballistic kind. After leaving a gay bar in Sydney, Australia, pranksters threw eggs at her. Before you can say “Vegemite!” she dodged them with bullet-time finesse like some latex-clad Trinity. Which is to say, like Trinity.

Whether this was in response to an earlier outcry she provoked from disability advocates upon performing “Yoü and I” in a wheelchair while dressed as a mermaid at the Sydney Town Hall or a performance-art follow-up to her egg-themed “Born This Way” Grammy set piece couldn’t be ascertained at press time. The latter could be likely, since a few days earlier on the Taiwanese talk show Channel V, she referred to her new fish-tailed alter ego Yuyi the Mermaid as being in “incubation.”

Roman Reed, a lobbyist for research on spinal cord injuries tweeted his bemusement with Gaga’s wheelchair stunt, however: “Dear @ladygaga how about using your celebrity status 2 try 2 get us out of wheelchairs. Instead of cruising one. Cool?!” Later he broached a tentative détente with “I like @ladygaga & would like hrr to help fund the research to get us out of our chairs like she can. Were on the Edge:-)”

Jesse Billauer, a founder of quadriplegic advocacy group Life Rolls On, also sounded off: “Since this isn’t the first time she has used a wheelchair in her performances, I invite her to learn more about the 5.6 million Americans who live with paralysis,” Jesse tells Radar. “They, like me, unfortunately, don’t use a wheelchair for shock value.”

Billauer’s referring to her previous foray into wheelchair-chic for her “Paparazzi” video in which her character is temporarily paralyzed after being tossed off a balcony by an eyepatch-wearing Alexander Skarsgard. As she often finds herself having to do, Her Ladyship explained away that controversy to Vanity Fair as a critique of people who are willing to “fame-whore themselves.” Since Yuyi the Mermaid has been rumored to be a part of the video for Gaga’s next (to be announced) single, it may not be a controversy that’ll go away quickly.

Gaga’s found herself in quite a bit of hot water lately. Catholic and Latino groups criticized her Biblical-themed “Judas” video, while shipments of Born This Way were impounded in Lebanon for being “offensive to Christianity.” And just today, her YouTube page was suspended after her camp uploaded a copyrighted video of her performance on the Japanese TV show SMAP x SMAP.

What thinketh you, Music Mixers? Is Gaga’s wheelchair-based performance offensive to the disabled? Or is it indeed a blistering commentary on exploitative “fame whoring”? And didn’t those who hurled the eggs realize that this is what Australians do to pranksters?

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more from
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You’re Lebanese! You’re…Censored: Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ banned in Lebanon
Lady Gaga’s YouTube page suspended: Who’s to blame?

Comments (118 total) Add your comment
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  • Melissa

    I think that wheelchairs shouldn’t be deemed off limits in art. It is just a bit odd that people are outraged over the mere use of a wheelchair, without giving it any sort of context.

    • BLT

      I think the real issue is that she is stealing from yet another artist…first Madonna, now Bette Midler. Bette has already done the whole mermaid in a wheel chair routine. Gaga isn’t as original as she would like you to think.

      • sas5

        So Im not the only person who sees things familar in Lady Gagas music, videos and performances! I think its ok to have role models but we all have to find our own uniqueness and build on that.

      • robert

        your so right !!!!! Ms. B did that years ago!!!!

      • Mimi

        I agree, Gaga is not original

      • fred

        was there any similar outrage then?

        meh.. who cares

      • Kat

        I live in Las Vegas and Bette Midler did this in her show as part of her alter-ego, Delores (sound familiar?). I don’t recall any outrage or controversy when The Divine Miss M did it. Miss M did it as part of art guided by true talent. Gaga got egged because she just does (stolen) bits for shock value.

      • cindy

        Awfully similiar to the Divine MIss M’s Delores Delago routine….

    • Joseph Pauley

      Just like in Glee I did not see any outraged people about that!!

    • Andy

      It is not the use of wheelchairs per se but the fact that the act itself was somewhat trivialising. As far as chairs being off limits to art I am not entirely sure that the “prop” in question was being used for arts sake or that of shock value to increase popularity or notarity

      • ian

        if you don’t like it don’t watch it .it is just a show.plenty of people have used a wheel chair sometime or another.
        maybe the warm fuzzy pink people should get a life

    • Omodia destiny desmond

      You are verry write about that,but please i will like to meet you for more guist

  • Vince from NYC

    These groups fake outrage at celebrities in order to get more attention to their particular advocacy group.

    • Sonz Rmg

      so f***en true

    • True_Zoo

      Absolutely. As was said – she has used a wheelchair and a crutch as props before and the world didn’t end. These groups know they can get easy publicity by attacking her because media outlets like EW get their kicks by slamming performers who they think have become too popular.

      Perfect example – Gaga’s HBO special is nominated for five Emmys today but that doesn’t get a mention on EW. No, that doesn’t fit in with their negative article so they just ignored it. Wouldn’t want to say anything positive about her now would you?

      • Fuzz

        So so true!! Have any of you actually listened to her interviews?? She is no dummy. She is out to show the world that we are all different and everyone has a place in this world no matter what. She goes about sending this message out in a way this generation will understand it. She is different….so what!! I say you go girl!!!

      • Kelcie

        Doesn’t EW praise Gaga enough? Every article won’t be positive. Most of them are. Chill!

      • morgana

        You are totally correct. This article links the egging with the wheelchair, but there is no evidence to back that up. These guys just get off on slamming. Of course, Gaga is playing them as well. Its a big silly game.

  • anne

    Didn’t Bette Midler do this several years ago in her act? I seem to remember seeing a video of her in a mermaid cosutme and sitting in a wheelchair doing one of her songs in a stage show.

    • e4ia

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Midler and her back-up singers all were dressed as mermaids in wheelchairs. Where was all the outrage then? Really, if you want to perform on a stage show as a mermaid and still be mobile, a wheelchair is the best choice.

    • @Anne

      Yep. That was a regular part of her act for a long time, she would do several songs and wildly move around the stage while wearing a mermaid dress in a wheelchair, and joking about her friend “Sophie”. I guess Gaga is now ripping off Midler. (After “paying homage” to Madonna like, forever) Which other gay icon will she do next? Diana? Liza? Barbra? Judy?

      • Bibi

        This was my first thought also. I don’t give a hoot about Lady Gaga, but this is just silly. Some people really need to get over themselves. Way too sensitive.

    • True Blue

      Kurt Cobain also appeared in a wheelchair onstage once, IIRC.

    • BLT

      sorry, i didn’t see your post before I made my comment. I wasn’t trying to Gaga your post.

  • sainsa

    Causes and crybabies, their choruses get tiresome. They’ve taken all the entertainment and fun out of living. And anyone that would throw an egg at someone–anyone–is a douche. (No offense to feminine products intended.)

    • sharon

      Maybe you should spend some time in a wheelchair and know how entertainging it can be. Maybe the eggs were not the right answer but maybe Lady Gaga who is a disgrace to society isn’t the right person to pull off this act. Be careful what you say or you may get to feel the pain.

      • Haddayr

        I’ve spend a lot of time in a wheelchair due to a neurological disorder, and I am here to tell you that they ARE entertaining. They get you where you want to go, fast. They zoom down ramps. Mine, in particular, is cute and sporty. I think that a mermaid on land IS someone who needs a mobility aid and a wheelchair is the perfect, most natural choice. Not everyone in the disability community is in agreement on this. Lots of us think of our wheels as wonderful tools that, yes. Can often be really entertaining.

    • Greg

      Gaga doesn’t use/need femine products……not a bad looking bloke though

  • Chris

    Didn’t Bette Midler do the same mermaid/wheelchair schtick a few years ago? Where were these people then? This doesn’t do much to dispel the criticisms that Lady Gaga is unoriginal (or that I’m an aging gay man), but I thought it should be mentioned.

    • e4ia

      As I mentioned above, if you want to perform on a stage show as a mermaid and still be mobile, a wheelchair is the best choice. It has less to do with being original and more with being practical.

      • sharon

        Mermaids don’t belong on land they belong in the water where they can swim. Get real!

    • Squishmar

      I believe Bette Midler did that like *30* years ago…



  • James

    Well it definitely was not related to the wheelchair stint. I was at ARQ which was the night believed to have been when she was egged.

    There is a few upset residents that couldn’t get to the units that night because of the amount of people lining up.

    Furthermore, her wheelchair stint was two nights after that…

    • Bingo

      So true. But EW anf others posting this junk do not like facts! Just like to join the I hate Gaga fanclub because it is what is in right now.

  • Molly

    “Criticism of people who fame whore?” Ok Lady Gaga.

  • Bibi

    It just goes to show you that she isn’t all that original. I don’t deny her talent, but she’s just really gotten tiresome.

  • john

    those who are offended by her weelchair act need to get a life as she meant no harm by is just one of mother monsters many great acts to entertain her fans…Lady Gaga is brilliant and does not deserve this criticism

    • sharon

      Brilliant people don’t offend those who are disabled! If she was so brilliant she could come up with something more entertaining than stupidity!

      • john

        boo you suck!!!

  • Alex

    More eggs, please!

    • blue

      Eggs aren’t enough. She needs pieces of sh!t thrown at her.

  • AlohaState

    Gaga has great potential but she needs to lay off the cocaine or whatever else she’s doing so she’ll stop thinking she’s coming up with great new ideas when she’s actually just copying ideas from other artists. That’s douchey.

    • True Blue

      Who isn’t copying who these days? Yeah, Gaga’s unoriginal, but so are basically all her peers. Gaga has never claimed to be the first to do anything, she proudly wears her influences on her sleeve. People really need to lay off her with the same old “she’s a copycat” crap. It’s a tired and pointless accusation. Even the person she’s most frequently accused of copying wasn’t so innocent herself when it came to that.

  • al12

    Maybe this wasn’t her best idea for a stage prop, however if you are a true Gaga fan then you would know that she would NEVER go out of her way to hurt or offend a certain individual or group of ppl. Gaga actually takes a stand against prejudice and anyone who trashes her for this is looking for a reason to complain. She was extremely sweet to this girl who had cerebral paulsy when Gaga invited her backstage and got her a free ticket. If anything this is perhaps a statement of support for the physically challenged.

    • True Blue

      Exactly. She seems to be quite a popular target to pick on lately.

      • Kelcie

        Oh please. -_-

      • zzzzzz

        being picked on or having its ass kissed like hell?

    • sharon

      Sounds like you know her personally! Do you really know what her objectives are? Where’s the proof?

      • tv

        yeh where are the flippers

  • AC

    Those advocates tweeting about Gaga better watch out, her biggest Twitter fans are some of the most ignorant and hateful people out there.

    • kevin G

      She needs to lay off the crack. She’s starting to look like Amy Whinehouse’s twin sister.

      • M.King

        Get your facts straight Gaga drinks but doesn’t do drugs.

  • whatevs

    I can NOT believe you misspelled ‘do’ in your last sentence. This site is officially run by monkeys.

    • CC

      Then don’t read Stransky’s coverage of the Emmy noms.

    • tv

      yeh the one on the ING add

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