Right-wing media and Fox News added to their long history of manufacturing news cycles out of fake outrage this week by pretending the “woke mob” was attempting to “cancel” pop superstar Adele for expressing her love of womanhood.
In the end, all of the supposed backlash to Adele’s remarks boiled down to a handful of tweets from obscure accounts—some of whom were obviously joking.
During Tuesday night’s Brit Awards in London, the “Easy on Me” singer collected the trophy for Artist of the Year. As this is the first year the Brits ditched the Best Male and Female Artist awards for a singular gender-neutral prize, Adele drew cheers for expressing pride that a woman had won it.
“I understand why the name of this award has changed, but I really love being a woman and being a female artist. I do,” she exclaimed. “I’m really proud of us, I really, really am!”
While in the real world her comments drew scant attention, conservative media outlets went digging online for outrage from the LGBTQ+ community and overly sensitive liberals and found, well, not very much.
But that didn’t stop them from claiming Adele had been “slammed” for telling the gender-neutral award show she loves “being a woman.”
Page Six apparently got the ball rolling on Wednesday morning, stating that the singer’s comments made her “the latest high-profile figure accused of being a TERF, or trans-exclusionary radical feminist.”
The proof was a single tweet from a self-described “performer” and “total attention seeker” with a few thousand followers who wrote: “Please, no, ADELE can’t be a TERF.” (The person has since made their Twitter account private.)
The article also pointed to another “long-time Twitter user” who posted an obviously sarcastic tweet wondering who would “have thought Adele was a transphobe and would use her platform to call for the destruction of the trans community.”
After the right-wing media ecosphere had set its narrative that Adele was taking heat from the trans community and progressives, it was only a matter of time before Fox News began running on-air segments about the faux controversy. And the network obliged on Thursday morning.
“The woke mob going after Adele. Her crime? Saying she loves being a woman. What’s wrong with that?! We’ll tell you straight ahead,” Fox News anchor Dana Perino teased on America’s Newsroom.
Perino and co-anchor Bill Hemmer then interviewed New York Post editor Maureen Callahan on her piece celebrating Adele’s speech and decrying the so-called backlash the artist had received.
“Safe to say ‘I am Woman/Hear Me Roar,’ would never be recorded today,” Callahan wrote in her piece. “Just ask Adele, best selling artist in the world, savior of a dying industry, now the woke mob’s latest target.”
“Well, Adele sparking serious backlash after that comment,” Hemmer noted during the interview. “Critics are lobbing attacks at her saying she is proud to be a woman. Some people have her back, including Maureen Callahan.”
Perino, meanwhile, compared Adele to Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling, who has actually drawn fire from critics over her stand on trans issues. At the same time, Perino—seemingly by accident—revealed that maybe this was much ado about nothing on their end.
“But I also wonder how big is this mob, anyway? It might feel like it is loud on Twitter,” she said. “I feel like there are many more people who agree with her than don’t. They are just quiet about it. They aren’t on Twitter or Snapchat or wherever they might be complaining.”
A couple of hours later, on Fox News’ midday panel show Outnumbered, the hosts devoted another entire segment to the left’s purported cancellation of the multi-platinum songstress.
“Adele getting blasted over her acceptance speech all because she said she loves being a woman,” co-host Emily Compagno claimed. “Why some are now calling her transphobic.”
“People on social media were outraged. Some calling her a trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” anchor Harris Faulkner added.
Finally, not to be outdone, embattled podcaster Joe Rogan—who has called the trans community a “crazy radical cult” and targeted trans athletes with smear campaigns—also fell for the fake outrage, taking the opportunity once again to mock the use of non-gendered pronouns.
“She should be tolerant, and just be like them only! And only think like them—the ‘they/them’ people. She should only be like them,” he smirked during his most recent podcast.
Yet, as Media Matter’s LGBTQ program director Ari Dennen noted Thursday afternoon on Twitter, there just wasn’t any legitimate anger or resentment toward Adele expressed by trans people after the awards show.
“I spent way too much of my morning trying to find a single trans person on the internet who was upset about Adele saying that she loves being a woman,” she stated. “I could not. This story is 100% manufactured outrage by a right-wing media fixated on turning the public against trans people.”