Trolls attack disability activist for calling out Beyonce lyrics

August 5, 2022 4:43 pm

Beyonce has removed a lyric from her new song Heated after its use was condemned as offensive by disability advocates and fans.[Source: NZ Herald]

An Australian disability advocate has revealed she has been subject to relentless trolling after calling out Beyonce for using an ableist slur in a newly released song.

It is not the first time Hannah Diviney has called out a star for their use of the word “sp*z” in a song.

Last month, Diviney tweeted Lizzo telling her to “do better” and she did, by changing the lyrics in her new song GRRRLS and apologising.

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Then last week, Beyonce released the track Heated on her Renaissance album, prompting Diviney to speak up again.

The singer also changed the lyrics in her song following backlash.

After calling out the 28-time Grammy winner, Diviney said her Twitter mentions – tweets from users tagging her – became a “dumpster fire” and she wished other people would have been as open to learning as Beyonce and Lizzo.

“I really respect Beyonce and Lizzo for apologising,” she said, speaking on ABC’s Q&A programme on Thursday night.

“I think that’s a great move because I think we have definitely seen it before when celebrities do that whole ‘I’m going to double down, that’s not what I meant, you just took it the wrong way blah blah’ and both of these women who, it has to be said, occupy incredible spaces as marginalised people themselves, have shown everyone around the world how to be an effective ally.

“And that’s basically be open to learning, go ‘Okay cool, I did something wrong, now I’m going to just fix it and we’re not going to make a huge fuss about it.’

“I just wish people who are really passionate about the fact Beyonce and Lizzo had to change the lyrics in their song would get that message,” Diviney continued.

“I actually debated or not whether to bring this up because I have a lot of people that I care about watching and people who care about me and they don’t quite know the level of trolling I’ve got this week.

“But I have had people basically sending me photos of, or like GIFs of, people in wheelchairs being falling over and people in wheelchairs being pushed off cliffs … which is basically telling me to ‘shut up and go away’.”

Diviney said it would not stop her, vowing to continue calling out any use of the word.

“That particular word has been used against me before as an insult and is especially being used against me now,” she said.

“It’s being used against people I care about and it presumes a lack of intelligence or emotional control, which are not at all things that I want associated with me, things I want associated with my disability.

They don’t reflect on my life at all.

“Trust me, if people had actually lived with spasticity I don’t think they’d be using that as an insult because it hurts.”

While Beyonce has not publicly addressed the backlash or lyrics, representatives for the singer told media the word was “not used intentionally in a harmful way” and would be replaced.

In June, Lizzo released a statement on Twitter apologising for using the word.

“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my song GRRRLS,” she wrote.

“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language. As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally).

“I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change. This is the result of me listening and taking action,” she continued.

“As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the challenge change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”