The Voice coach Boy George hung up on Brisbane breakfast radio host, Neil Breen, this morning, after he became convinced that Neil had “insulted” him. He’s since taken to Twitter to explain his actions.
Boy George tweeted about the moment afterwards, writing: “After four years on @TheVoiceAU apparently I still need to be reintroduced to the Australian public. I must get a bigger hat! Just did one of the ‘dark ages’ radio interviews that ended with me hanging up.”
Replying to a fan who asked if the host had called him a “gender bender”, Boy George replied: “That would have been fine”, but explained the real problem with the interview in his eyes: “Just a lack of research and the need to hold me in the past!”
Neil, breakfast host on the commercial talkback station 4BC, argued on Twitter that he was “just trying to tell him how much I loved him back in the day”.
“Hilarious the whole thing,” he replied to a fan.
He introduced the interview by playing the chorus of Culture Club’s hit ‘Karma Chameleon’, before talking about the frontman’s success in Australia in the 1980s.
“If you grew up like I did as a teenager in the 1980s then Boy George was bigger than a big deal here in Australia. He was massive. His band Culture Club dominated the Australian singles chart from late ’82 into ’83 with two songs. ‘Karma Chameleon’ was obviously their most notable one that we remember, but ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’ as well was their breakthrough song.”
He talked about the period as an “incredible time for music”, before admitting: “I’m a bit nervous, Boy George.”
But Boy George was immediately put offside by the “terrible comment” in the introduction, that spoke only of Culture Club’s two best known songs. “I mean there’s about 10 records you missed that were huge massive hits,” he laughed.
Neil attempted to appease Boy George by saying, “We know how big you were, you were big in my house.”
But Neil’s use of the past tense only agitated Boy George further: “No, no, please don’t talk about me like I live in past context. It’s really insulting.”
Neil tried to salvage the interview, by explaining that he was just trying to “reintroduce” Boy George to people who remember him in the ’80s, “but also remember you now and how big you are on The Voice”. But that only miffed a blunt Boy George further.
“Reintroduce them to someone who has been on national TV in Australia for the last four years? You don’t need to reintroduce me. I’m on TV. Everybody knows who I am,” Boy George retorted.
Neil replied: “I know that, Boy George. But we’re just having a bit of fun. It’s a breakfast radio show.”
Neil soon realised that Boy George had hung up as he went to ask him a question. “He was insulted that I played ‘Karma Chameleon’, but anyway,” he explained.
“I didn’t want to insult Boy George, but there you go. He hung up on me and that’s the way it goes.”
Neil decided to play ‘Karma Chameleon’ again, noting that sometimes popstars are “finicky”, and want to “disown” the songs that made them famous.
Boy George joined The Voice in 2017, taking over for Joel and Benji Madden. He’s released six studio albums with Culture Club, and nine solo records, and his latest record, Geminis Don’t Read the Manual, is scheduled for release later this year.
Boy George will appear on upcoming episodes of The Voice via satellite from the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with The Veronicas stepping in to mentor his team on the ground.
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