On Monday morning, Sinead O’Connor told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, hosts of Good Morning Britain, that during her one and only encounter with Prince, he attempted to physically assault her. According to O’Connor, she went to Prince’s residence in California, to discuss the song he wrote for her, “Nothing Compares 2U” when he became violent.
At first, when recounting the event, O’Connor kept her tone light — but Reid interjected saying that the story was O’Connor was telling sounded quite serious. O’Connor responded that it was, and went into more detail about the night.
"It was a very frightening experience,” O’ Connor said. “He summoned me to his house one night and I foolishly went alone. He was uncomfortable with the fact I wasn’t a protégé of his and that I’d just recorded the song.”
According to O’Connor, Prince became violent when she refused his instructions to stop swearing.
“He was wanting me to be a protégé of his and ordered that I don’t swear in my interviews. I told him where he could go and he went for me,” O’Connor explained. “He went upstairs and got a pillow and he had something hard in the pillow. I ran out of his house, hiding behind a tree.”
She said that the two were running around Prince’s vehicle, he was chasing her, while she was spitting at him. Finally, she sprinted away and rang the doorbell of a nearby house, something she said her father taught her. O’Connor also alleged that she was not the only person who Prince was violent with, saying he was “into some pretty dark drugs at the time.”
“I’m not the only one he went at,” O’Connor continued. “One of the girls in his band was in the hospital with broken ribs at the time.”
O’Connor wasn’t making these allegations for the first time — in 2014 she told a Norwegian TV station nearly the exact same account, including the detail about running to ring the bell of the neighbor’s house because it was what her father taught her to do.
Prince didn’t comment on the allegations the first time O’Connor spoke about them. Prince died in April 2016, from an accidental drug overdose. His estate has yet to respond to O’Connor’s most recent allegations about the incident, and the other women she alleged that were assaulted by Prince have also not made statements to the press.
O’Connor’s allegations complicate Prince’s legacy; his passing caused collective mourning, and his contributions to music are considered to be some of the greatest of all time. But if the allegations made by O’Connor are true, that greatness also has to reconcile with violence against women.
This isn’t the first time O’Connor’s comments have made the news. Last year, O’Connor posted that she never wanted to spend time with white people again, and criticized Jewish and Christian theologians. O’Connor made the comments after converting to Islam. Last week, she apologized for her statements, saying that they “weren’t true then, and aren’t true now.”