Saturday Night Live: 30 scandals and secrets you didn’t know

Saturday Night Live (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images)
Saturday Night Live (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images) /
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3. Sinead O’Connor rips up a picture of the Pope on television

Even though Sinead O’Connor felt Andrew Dice Clay was offensive, she wasn’t without her own controversies on Saturday Night Live. Her big moment came in 1993 when she returned as a musical guest. She performed the Bob Marley song “War”, but added her own special touch which would create a firestorm backstage.

O’Connor was intending to make a statement against child abuse. During the song, she pulled out a picture of Pope John Paul II while singing. She did this right as the word “evil” comes up in the song. Then, tearing the picture into several pieces left the live audience in shock.

As you can imagine, this was a very controversial moment. Thousands of complaints flooded NBC. In an effort to do some damage control, Saturday Night Live brought up the incident the next week on the show. Guest host Joe Pesci reveals that he had taped the pieces of the photo back together. He then makes a sly comment about giving O’Connor a “smack” if she were there. That last part may have pushed it a little bit, but it does show how unhappy a lot of people were with O’Connor.