The Atlantic

Prince: Gay Icon, Whether He Wanted to Be or Not

How to reconcile his later conservatism with the sexual liberation he stood for earlier in life?
Source: Mike Blake / Reuters

In 2008, the New Yorker writer Claire Hoffman asked Prince what he thought of social issues like gay marriage and abortion. Reported Hoffman of his response: “Prince tapped his Bible and said, ‘God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’”

This exchange caused one of the last great controversies in Prince’s career. The “homophobe” label itself to him, accompanied by the bitter shock of many fans. “The irony, it burns,” the blogger Joe Jervis. “The pop star Perez Hilton that the misquoted him: “What His Purpleness actually did was gesture to the Bible and said he follows what it teaches, referring mainly to the parts about loving everyone and refraining from judgment,” Hilton wrote. But the years after that saw Prince talking about gay rights, and some writers saw subtle homophobia in a few of his later and .

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