John Cameron Mitchell Rips Into Madonna: ‘I See No Soul There’

John Cameron Mitchell is absolutely no fan of Madonna

In an IndieWire interview published Wednesday, the actor and filmmaker lambasted the Queen of Pop for having “no soul” and being desperate “to remain relevant” four decades into her record-breaking career.  

Mitchell, who was promoting the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release of his 2001 movie musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” even compared Madonna unfavorably to her one-time rival, Cyndi Lauper

“There was a time in the early ’80s when if you were gay you had to decide whether you were a Cyndi Lauper or a Madonna person, and there was no question for me,” he said.

“I see no soul there, and it’s all about herself,” he added, referring to Madonna. “I appreciate that she spoke up about AIDS and queer people, but there was also a kind of appropriation. I don’t know. I feel like she’s a user. [People] see a sort of desperation in her. She’s trying to remain relevant.”

Mitchell was also critical of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, both of whom have cited Madonna as an influence on their respective music careers

He deemed Spears’ work as “blow-up doll stuff, which is an even worse example of a gay icon.” He said he admired Gaga’s “activism and eclecticism,” but added, “There’s a kind of, ‘I want to be something that already existed.’ The quickly shifting to another, ‘You don’t like this look? How about this one?’” 

Gay icons for men used to be very strong women, or women who broke the rules.
John Cameron Mitchell

But Mitchell ― who in 2015 reprised his role as Hedwig for the Broadway production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ― praised Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. 

“Gay icons for men used to be very strong women, or women who broke the rules,” he said. Referring to the fabled, widely debated link between Garland’s death and the symbolic start of the LGBTQ rights movement in 1969, he added, “I don’t think it was a mistake that Stonewall happened the day after Judy Garland died.”

While there may be no love lost between Mitchell and Madonna, the two stars do have one thing in common: Oscar-nominated designer and stylist Arianne Phillips

Phillips, who has collaborated with Madonna on music videos and six world tours, also dressed Mitchell ― as well as Neil Patrick Harris and Darren Criss ― for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” during its Broadway run. 

Madonna, certainly, can afford to take criticism in stride. The Material Girl scored her ninth No. 1 album with “Madame X,” released June 14, and is rehearsing for a world tour slated to kick off in September. 

But the singer’s road back to the spotlight has been a rocky one. Critics widely panned her May 18 performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, and survivors of gun violence, including Emma González and Brandon Wolf, have been angered by the music video for her latest single, “God Control.” 

You might like