On Tuesday we took a brief look at Lily Allen, the British pop star who is, perhaps, known almost as well for her opinions as for her music. In late 2016, as we’ve seen, she sharply criticized her country’s government for not opening its gates to a flood of refugees, and made a public promise to take at least one of them into her Notting Hill home. Well, that never happened. By Christmas of that year she was making noise – and headlines – over that very residence. As it turned out, she had rented it to an Italian couple, and on December 4 she complained on Twitter that she was about to be homeless for the holidays: “Meant to be moving back into my flat this week, but my tenants just dropped that they can’t find anywhere to go up to their standards. Then they said they’re diplomats and have diplomatic immunity and there’s nothing I can do about it. So, who fancies a family of 3 for Xmas?”
It all turned out to be a lie. The Italian couple, Luca and Maria Bilotta, were simply taking a bit longer than expected to get all their stuff moved out, and had asked for two extra days to do so. “We are diplomats,” said Maria. “But I don’t want to make trouble to [sic] our embassy. This is so stupid. I can’t believe this.” The fracas caused widespread reaction. Why, asked some Brits, had Allen rented out her property to rich foreigners instead of filling it with refugees? “Thought she’d given up her home to refugees and they were actually diplomats!” cracked one Twitter wit. “I’m always making that mistake!”
Now, any one of the incidents we’ve mentioned would have caused an ordinary human being to be so paralyzed with embarrassment that he or she would disappear forever from social media and never again make a public statement about anything. Not Lily Allen! She has continued to spout off with the same breathtaking self-assurance. In January of this year, for example, she came up with a sort-of-defense for the so-called “grooming gangs” that raped over 1400 British girls and that are made up almost exclusively of Muslim men. Allen’s response to this catastrophe was to shift the focus to sexual assaults by non-Muslims: there are, she pointed out on Twitter, plenty of white British men who “have sex with their stepdaughters twice a week for years at a time.” The assailants aren’t just stepfathers, she added: they’re “neighbors, uncles, gardeners, priests, fast food restaurant managers that do it over and over again.” In fact, she tweeted, “there’s a strong possibility” that the girls raped by the grooming gangs “would have been raped and abused by somebody else at some point. That’s kind of the issue.”
When she was called out far and wide for her “vile,” “sick,” and “repugnant” attempt to deflect guilt away from Muslim men, Allen deleted her comments and apologized – sort of. “Being able to accept responsibility and apologize is a strength, not a weakness,” she insisted, ever impressed with herself.