Cher speaks her mind without filter. And on Twitter, that can get messy. The celeb has now come under fire for comments regarding George Floyd’s death. After expressing her horror with the deadly instance of police brutality, Cher wondered — in writing — whether she herself could have helped to intervene, had she been on the Minneapolis corner that fateful day.
Currently, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. With the murder trial ongoing, tensions are higher than ever regarding the death of George Floyd. So unsurprisingly, Cher’s trending message was met with major backlash; the Grammy-winning singer says she is “TRULY SORRY.”
Cher’s Unique (and Confounding) Twitter Presence
Cher’s tweets are unlike any other public figure’s. The 74-year-old singer uses the social media platform liberally to share personal concerns, political opinions, and totally random non-sequiturs. These colorful thoughts are strung together, most often, with nearly indecipherable abbreviations, random formatting, and questionable grammar. (Cher has struggled with dyslexia throughout her lifetime.) The effect is surreal, and in this digital age, has only added to the mystique of the seemingly ageless icon. Though her handle on the technology might seem, at times, laughably senile, Cher adeptly uses Twitter to expand her impenetrable brand. In doing so, she’s furthered her appeal to the next generation.
Cher’s Twitter thread reads like a column of scatterbrained poetry. And it has remained a gem of the internet gem for years now, thanks to a perceptible authenticity behind the posts. Even as her online reach has grown significantly, the tone of the tweets has not changed. Aside from fitting into the strict character limit, seemingly no edits are applied to a Cher tweet. Clearly, there is no PR spokesperson or publicity team standing between the performer and her audience. But for the same reason that fans once flocked to the handle @cher, this celebrated Twitter queen now finds herself at the center of scandal.
The George Floyd Tweet
Cher is an outspoken Democrat who has vocally supported the Black Lives Matter movement. She has marched in the streets to protest the presidency of Donald Trump, police brutality, and other social justice causes. (I once had the pleasure of meeting and marching with Cher at such a demonstration.) So when Cher tweeted some thoughts about George Floyd, specifically the the final moments of his life, she exhibited obvious empathy for Floyd. However, one comment, in particular, drew criticism.
On April 2, Cher wrote in a now-deleted tweet:
“Was talking With Mom
& She Said ‘I Watched Trial of Policeman Who Killed George Floyd,& Cried’.
‘Mom,I Know This Is Gonna Sound CRAZY,But..
I Kept Think …..Maybe If I’d Been,…I Could’ve
This is not the first time that Cher has tweeted about the death of George Floyd. Linked above is another reaction that she shared last month, voicing sympathy for those who watched Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck — specifically those who filmed the unnerving video evidence. But to suggest that had she been there, the outcome might have been different was a bridge too far for many Twitter users… especially in the midst of the painful Chauvin trial.
Watching that video footage of a black man suffering so clearly, dying so clearly, affected and mobilized so many Americans last summer. And it might seem natural to imagine yourself in that place, at that moment, and wonder what you could do to stop it. But to say so, proudly, on Twitter did not go over well. Cher’s self-aggrandizing hypothetical enraged a lot of folks who were quick to point out the apparent white savior complex embedded in her words.
A Public Apology
On April 3, Cher posted two tweets in succession addressing the controversy. The first emphasized her original position, doubling down on her identity a misunderstood celebrity. It reads:
“Wrestled With This Twt, Because I Thought some ppl wouldn?t understand, Or Believe an Entertainer Could have Honest emotions about a human Being,suffering & Dying,even if It?s Only Shown On tv. You Don?t Know What I?ve Done,Who I Am,Or What I Believe.I CAN,I HAVE,& I WILL..HELP”Advertisement
The next, however, more formally acknowledged why her point was inappropriate. Insisting that she is “TRULY SORRY,” not just apologizing to get out of “a jam,” Cher wrote:
“I Just got off phone With Friend Karen.Told her what Happened,& Realized,You Can Piss Ppl Off,& Hurt Them By Not Knowing Everything That?s?NOT Appropriate?To Say.I know Ppl Apologize When They?re In a Jam,BUT?TO GOD ? ,IM TRULY SORRY If I Upset AnyOne In Blk Community.I Know My??”
Just an hour ago, Cher added these words:
“These last days have been Hard,Soul Searching, Painful Ones. My Wording Was Wrong/Imprecise. When I?m Over-emotional I Should Wait,Walk Away, Then Twt.I Felt Sorrow,& Did Wish I Could have Helped George.Sometimes you can feel what you can?t Explain in a twt.Sorry is All I Have”