There's a long history of stars not getting the public appreciation fans so desperately want after they've passed away — we've seen it this year at the Oscars with Garry Shandling.
For the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), when it came to musicians Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, who both died by suicide this year, there was a fully planned tribute. It just didn't, apparently, get a chance to air in full.
Jared Leto, a friend of Bennington's, gave a heartfelt speech at the Sunday night show, in which he emphasized to anyone watching who feels like there is no hope, "you are not alone." He then asked the audience to stand in the stars' honour, and introduced a video clip of Linkin Park, with Bennington, performing at the 2010 MTV VMAs.
"And I remember his voice at once ferocious and delicate. That voice will live forever." https://t.co/Fzun69IDIq— MTV (@MTV) August 28, 2017
After a few moments, it was gone, and the show cut to commercial.
And fans, as you might imagine, couldn't believe what they were seeing.
#VMAs Not cool cutting off the dedication to chester bennington to go to commericals. He deserved so much better than that.— Kelsey Johannes (@kelseyjohannes) August 28, 2017
#VMAs2017 wtf you cut to commercial during the tribute to Chester Bennington?! Totally disgraceful and disrespectful. You should be ashamed!— honeybee55 (@KunzLisa) August 28, 2017
Considering the nature of both artists' deaths at a time when mental health still faces such a stigma — not to mention the message Leto himself conveyed — it seems particularly callous of the show to prioritize an ad over a tribute.
After Bennington's death, many fans shared how the artist's music had gotten them through difficult times, with one noting, "Chester Bennington's voice was the only thing that got me through my worst times. It got me through from being a wrist slasher to a believer."
Chester Bennington's voice was the only thing that got me through my worst times. It got me through from being a wrist slasher to a believer.
It also showed a disconnect between the live audience's reaction and those of the fans at home, as Leto had to ask the people present twice to stand up.
This wasn't the only performance that was cut off over the course of the evening either. Singer/songwriter Julia Michaels was also cut off during the show, much to rock star Adam Levine's disappointment:
Julia Michaels gets cut off while she's singing and Lorde gets to NOT sing her whole song— Adam Levine (@adamlevine) August 28, 2017
Looks like MTV might need to get to know their audience a little better next year.
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