Two and a half weeks after Chester Bennington was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment, having hanged himself, another rock legend is reaching out in a way many of Bennington’s fans wished he had.
Sinead O’Connor stirred controversy at the height of her popularity in the late 80s early 90s as a shaved-head, irreverent woman who called out hypocrisies in the Catholic Church and was not afraid to make controversial statements or actions. The most controversial moment in her entire career occurred during a live performance on SNL during which she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II as a protest against child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Her career did not seem to make a mainstream comeback after that.
In 2007, she stated on The Oprah Winfrey Show that she had been diagnosed as bipolar but has since said she was given several “second-opinions” that contradicted that diagnosis.
On August 3, O’Connor posted a video on Facebook discussing her mental illness, stating that she had been suicidal for a while, that she was living in a motel in New Jersey, that she had lost custody of her 13-year-old son, and that her therapist and doctor were the only people keeping her alive.
In 2015, during the custody battle for her son, the youngest of her four children, she posted on social media stating that she had overdosed. She was later located by police who reported that she was “safe and sound.” She also went missing for approximately a day in 2016, according to CNN.
In the 12-minute video, O’Connor cries and curses, stating that she feels abandoned because of her mental illness but that she hopes being honest about it might help her fans who may not have the same resources she does.
O’Connor reportedly posted the address of the Travelodge she said she was living at, but initial reporting indicates that there is no record of her staying there.
Singer Annie Lenox posted a concerned status Tuesday, asking if no friends or family could reach out to the Irish singer and stating that she was “concerned for her safety.”
Many fans and social media users echoed those concerns, boosting the video to virality, getting #SineadO and #SineadOconnor trending on Twitter, and defending the artist from the inevitable trolling Internet backlash. Some accused O’Connor of being attention-seeking.
Supporters fired back that after Chris Bennington’s suicide, fans had wished he had reached out and gotten help in order to prevent his suicide and that that is precisely what Sinead seems to be doing.
A post was made to O’Connor’s Facebook later Tuesday reassuring fans and supporters of O’connor’s safety and wellbeing:
“Hi everybody, I am posting at Sinead’s request, to let everyone who loves her know she is safe, and she is not suicidal. She is surrounded by love and receiving the best of care. She asked for this to be posted knowing you are concerned for her. I won’t respond to any questions, so please understand. I hope this comforts those of you were concerned.”
She has also interacted with friends on her Facebook page, in several asking for a place to stay; her friends also defended her against some harassment she was receiving in light of her video and its popularity.
O’Connor ended her video: “My entire life is revolving around not dying, and that’s not living. And I’m not going to die, but still, this is no way for people to be living.”