Last night, Sam Smith and Kim Petras performed their hit song “Unholy” at the Grammys. The performance featured Smith in a red costume with devil horns as Petras danced in a cage surrounded by flames and dancers dressed as demons.
Conservatives are freaking out. The fact that the devil and demons have been depicted in art for centuries is clearly lost on them. Perhaps they’ve never heard of Dante’s Divine Comedy or seen the many famed depictions of devils, demons, and hell in Renaissance paintings.
The typically verbose Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was so flustered he could only muster three words to describe his feelings. “This…is…evil,” Cruz tweeted.
One America News Network (OAN) alum Liz Wheeler made the wild claim that the duo’s production was “teaching your kids to worship Satan.” Wheeler may be unaware the song and accompanying video is about condemning a man for deceiving his wife.
Others made similarly outlandish claims about Smith and Petras, who also won a Grammy for the song. Petras’ win was particularly significant as she was the first transgender person to win a Grammy.
“Sam Smith stages SATANIC Grammy performance with strippers, devil horns,” Charlie Kirk tweeted.
Far-right YouTuber Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad) invoked QAnon conspiracists’ obsession with devil worship, opining, “It sure seems that the Satan worship of Hollywood is on the surface now.”
Another conspiratorially minded commenter wrote, “This is some illuminati devil worshipping bullshit at the Grammys.”
It didn’t help that, after the performance, the show went to commercial with a shoutout to Pfizer.
Conservatives immediately drew a line from “Unholy” to Pfizer, which has been an obsession of theirs ever since the pharmaceutical giant manufactured a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Sponsored probably by the devil himself, Pfizer,” tweeted @its_the_Dr.
“I say it’s satanic rituals on national television. Sponsored by who? No surprise there…” @hottamali02 wrote.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) joined the chorus of conservatives blaming Pfizer for Smith’s and Petras’ act.
In her tweet about the “demonic performance,” Greene also brought up that the Satanic Temple, which doesn’t actually worship Satan, is opening an abortion clinic in New Mexico.
People less scandalized by art were highly amused by the sanctimonious reaction to Smith and Petras performing “Unholy.”
“Wonder how upset she’ll be when this drops,” a Twitter user wrote of Greene’s tweet, along with a photo of the album cover for AC/DC’s 1979 album Highway to Hell.
Others made similar points about the history of Satanic themes in art and culture.
“Oh boy I sure do hope you don’t find out about those things called ‘heavy metal’ and ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’” wrote one.
Even as the right-wing outrage machine ratcheted up, cooler heads blasted the ludicrousness of placing such significance on a single performance.
“If Sam Smith twerkin in red spandex make your kids worship the Devil that’s your fault,” @ampaveli commented.
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*First Published: Feb 6, 2023, 10:31 am CST
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.