Cyndi Lauper Acted Like a Big Bully During our Interview and Onstage

Categories: Interview

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"Do you know anything about me?" Cyndi Lauper aggressively questioned me last week over the telephone. I was, needless to say, taken aback, confused, sort of desperate to see where the conversation had gone wrong even though we'd only been on the phone two minutes.

Before the call, I was, as a child of the '80s and a big fan of gay rights, excited to speak with the greatest advocate of girls having fun. After the call, "fun" and "Cyndi Lauper" just don't go hand in lace-gloved hand for me anymore.

At first, I thought that maybe it was because I started out the interview by stepping out of the bounds of music-talk that forced it in a weird direction. I asked about John Boehner's comments on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act; it affects the LGBT community, one with which Lauper works closely.

But once she derided me, it became clear that simply she just wasn't the most gracious interviewee. And by that, I mean she was kind of a bully who made me feel pea-sized for no apparent reason.

Though the first question didn't go well, I simply cackled oddly, and moved on to the next, asking how she personally relates to the gay community -- as a straight woman. Possibly my query wasn't clear; I was asking about empathy. But that's when she figuratively punched me in the gut: "Do you know anything about me?" She asked offensively. When I tried to respond, she asked again: "No! Do you know anything about me?" My eyes crossed with frustration.

Then she gave an actual response: "through friends and family." I, horrified, spent like a minute clarifying that I did indeed know about the True Colors Fund, but was looking for something a little deeper from her on this topic.

"I'm always empathetic to the underdog," she said. Funny, cause as the interviewer, the female music editor, I felt at a disadvantage speaking with this pop superstar, and zero empathy.

She chilled out chatting about the True Colors Fund and its Forty to None project, which works with gay and transgendered homeless youth. "We try now to educate people and also educate them about different programs that bring families together so they can discuss issues before the kids run away or are thrown out," Lauper said. "A lot of times, the kids are bullied, and a lot of times the kids go to shelters and are rejected," adding, "We have some wonderful people working for us, and there's a big, fat light at the end of that tunnel."

She spoke in length about the topics of abuse, education, and against discrimination. I asked her about penning Kinky Boots, if she used writing that as a creative outlet to deal with some of the social issues she's working on. This got her a little annoyed. I mean, what an annoying question, right? "Kinky Boots is about family and people, and it's not just about someone who dresses in women's clothing," she said. Straight men do too, she schooled me.

Lauper was about to come to town with the She's So Unusual tour, which involved her sharing stories from the stage. When asked how she chose the tales, she said they change a little with each performance, "because I hate doing the same thing all the time." She noted, "I try to make them funny... Everyone seems to love this album, so this was my gift back to my fans."

But at her recent show at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, she wasn't telling funny stories from the stage. Our writer David Von Bader attended and relayed quite a different message. "As an artist doing a tour to celebrate the legacy of an album that meant a lot to fans, It's really unfortunate that Lauper would spend so much of the show stifling their excitement," he observed. She told fans to "shut the fuck up" when they burst out in excitement during her stories about the history of the album. She yelled at people taking photos.


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22 comments
Sarybery
Sarybery

Karl- you hit every point I was just about to make.Lucas- seriously? D-list? The show was sold out and the woman just won a Tony. Her concerts are amazing!

micolrindone
micolrindone

You're completely wrong dear Liz.You don't know Cyndi, and actually you don’t know anything about her, and if you did know her you would know how huge her heart is, you would know how generous and dedicated to the people she is.

Further to her huge and true talent, you would know and have experience of Cyndi’s great professionalism, of her passion, enthusiasm and committment in everything she does. 

You say you know about her True Colors Fund. That’s great, but how much do you really know about it? Do you have any ideas about how hard and tirelessly Cyndi always works and has always been struggling to help other people, how she stands up and fights for equal rights for everybody, and how she works to put an end to kids bullying and LGBT youth homelessness. I guess you do not know anything about West End True Colors Residence in NYC: the first permanent residence for homeless LGBT kids, a project of Cyndi and her manager, which provides a safe, stable and supportive environment in which homeless kids can rebuild their lives (and which received the 2013 New York City Residence of the Year Award).

You talked about empathy. And you probably completely ignore the unbelievably generous, sweet, brave and dedicated thing that Cyndi did for her Japanese fans during and after the heartquake which struck Japan in march 2011. While everybody was leaving Japan, she decided to stay, she strenously did not want to leave the Country - despite everything that was happening and despite everybody was urging her to leave - because she did not want to abandon her fans. With tireless support, love and dedication she stayed, shared love with people, collected donations to bring relief to Japan.  

And do you know that when she was back in Japan in march 2012 on the first Anniversary of the sad event, she spent her only day off visiting the striken areas and offering hope and support to the people there, and among them some kids in a school which had been destroyed by the tsunami, carrying them cherry blossoms as a symbol of hope and renewal and singing to cheer them up. That she bought and had an old piano repaired from a local store destroyed by the tragedy, to donate it to a local hospital re-opening.

And  you do not obviously know that she is supporting her fans in the Philippines right now, in this sad and tough moment for them. Cyndi’s twitter is at hand, what about checking it? It’s @cyndilauper maybe it could help you to know a little more about the amazing person she is, aside her huge talent.

To me, you surely and really did a very bad and unconvenient exercise of journalism.

Cyndi Lauper is the person with the biggest heart I know.

joelrobrien
joelrobrien

She should have abused people who were taking pictures. I just saw her and there were signs all over letting us know she didn't want flashes going off in her face. People who can't follow directions should be abused. And you, dear writer, are a whiner. 

ncc-1138
ncc-1138

She acted like a bored, spoiled, ungrateful, menopausal cunt at the Hard Rock. It's like she was blaming us for making her go on tour and sing these old ass songs from 30 years ago. There were moments at the HR show where you could hear a pin drop after some of her harsh ass commentary. She told people to "shut the fuck up. get the fuck out. please lady, shut up I'm tawking here". What a cantankerous old fart...

crepuscularnocturnal
crepuscularnocturnal

Alright, I know Cyndi Lauper, and let me assure you (and everyone else) that she's a very good-hearted person. 

I have noticed a common problem...People tend to take all or nothing approaches to deciding if a celebrity is "nice" or "not nice". Generally speaking, people will exaggerate whatever experience they have in order to prove that said person is either extremely down to earth, or is extremely nasty. Personally, I have no idea why whether one person is nice or isn't nice is so incredibly important. You also need to take into account that people have moods, and Cyndi is known to be a bit moody. Are you a bad person when you are angry? Do you mean everything that you say? Chances are, you don't. How, may I ask, is this any different at all? 

I also noticed that you left out significant portions of the conversation. Without all the details, things are easily missed, and the writer can easily turn anything around to appear to be all one person's fault, and yet the other can appear completely "innocent". I hate to get into a heated debate, but there are a lot of flaws in your writing. I'm assuming that there was probably a miscommunication here as well. Saying that someone was upset after two minutes means very little. If you look at one-on-one conversations, quite a lot can be said in two minutes. There could have easily been a miscommunication. The fact that you two were on the phone as opposed to in-person could also have impacted the route the interview took, since you can't see facial expressions or body language over the phone.

Personally, I suggest you refrain from judging someone until you know them better. You are indeed talking about a woman who struggled terribly in her early life, yet has managed to achieve so much, help others (including myself), selflessly and continues to do so. If you question any of this, please look into her efforts for the causes she supports and how back in 2011, she remained in Japan (despite a lot of people tried to convince her to leave for her own safety) even during the major earthquakes simply because the Japanese people needed her. That sounds nothing like a bully to me.

user005
user005

note to writers: it's not about you, ever.

Shawn Weaver
Shawn Weaver

The writers of newtimes mostly take the disrespectfull approach to everything they do..its funny about 1% the time...after that..its just boring... And thats sad....i remember when i was excited to read it. ..now i use it to start my bbq

Karl Kryczynski
Karl Kryczynski

I was at the concert and she did not bully the audience. There was one woman (who was probably over-served) that kept screaming while she was trying to tell a story that the rest of us wanted to hear. And your second point about her telling the audience not to take photos, was a joke about not taking pictures of her chin from below.

W Kelley Lucas
W Kelley Lucas

I remember back when writers had balls. Boo hoo for you, a D-list celebrity was mean to you.

Sarybery
Sarybery

Great comment. I have found her to be nothing but nice in person. I also was at the concert they are referring to. Lovely how they don't mention how the person she scolded was one woman that repeatly screamed over Cyndi telling a story. I was also backstage and she was nice to everyone. So take that, haters. X

Sarybery
Sarybery

I agree 100% with your comment. I have found her to be nothing but nice in person. I was at this concert, as well as backstage. She killed it and the crowd had a great time! Xx

Sarybery
Sarybery

Thank for the comment that I was to perturbed to write. I have found her to be nothing but nice in person, and even the night of the concert backstage she took time to greet everyone. Of all the celebs for this paper to get so wrong. It's infuriating.

starpilot
starpilot

@Karl Kryczynski some don't take Cyndi's old lady from Queens attitude for what it is. A guy got slightly chided at my concert (the only smart Alec behavior she displayed over 2 hrs) but he deserved it and when I interrupted her to say I'd keep her warm (it was 40 in Otown) she stared at me and smiled, then continued. Like you said, no offense to the writer but this was on the phone and sorry, there sounds like there was miscommunication,  no biggie. Ans when she gets confused she can be surly at 60, but just move on.  As you said, post the whole transcript for fairness.  I also am not saying Cyber is perfect! 

Sarybery
Sarybery

Seriously? D-list? Suuuuuure.

Sarybery
Sarybery

Is it cold under that rock?

cezz
cezz

D list? XD omg joke of the week lmao

starpilot
starpilot

@W Kelley Lucas goodness you're clueless... let me know when you sell over 50 million records and are an Oscar away from being a member of the EGOT award winners club, and there's few who've won EGT. 

There's also over 100 artists who've recorded Time After Time, True Colors and Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Always get a kick when people say Cyndi isn't that famous...sure, she's like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.


crepuscularnocturnal
crepuscularnocturnal

@Sarybery  I'm so glad you feel the same way. It's really quite a shame that so many people here have the wrong idea. You can't really judge someone based on a particular meeting or even what happened on one particular day. Sometimes people are irritable or have a bad day. It happens. For all we know, she may not have been feeling well. 

Cyndi has been nothing but kind to me. She tries to help me, and at worst she shows tough love, but she always means well. I have seen her occasionally snap, but that's always been due to a misunderstanding. I've known her for about three years now, and she's otherwise proven herself to be an amazingly caring and sweet person.

Sarybery
Sarybery

Boo I thought maybe you lived around here.

crepuscularnocturnal
crepuscularnocturnal

@Sarybery Actually, no. I was at the Chicago show, though. This article was pointed out to me by one of the fans, and I felt the need to defend Cyn. Xx

Sarybery
Sarybery

I'm not even saying she's not a pistol, but I like it. Btw were you at the HR show? Xx

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