Less than 24 hours after Beyoncé pledged to change a lyric on the Renaissance track “Heated” after complaints from disability advocates over the repeated use of the ableist term “spazz” in its lyrics, a pair of Fox News commentators mocked the singer for listening to experts.
During the “Seen and Unseen” segment of The Ingraham Angle on Monday’s (Aug. 1), Brian Kilmeade asked contributor Raymond Arroyo to weigh in on the situation during a segment in which the men expressed ire over such beloved fictional sitcom characters as irascible bigot Archie Bunker being turned into “political avatars” in the current culture wars.
“I’ll let the audience pick the offensive part of this lyric … I dare you,” Arroyo said while cueing up the portion of the song in which Bey sings “Spazzin’ on that a–/ Spazz on that a–/ Dimples on my hip, stretch marks on my t–s/ Drinkin’ my water, mindin’ my biz/ Monday, I’m overrated, Tuesday, on my d–k/ Flip-flop, flippy, flip-floppin’ a–.”
A spokesperson for the singer told Billboard in a statement early Monday (Aug. 1) that “the word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced.” The medical condition the slang term derives from is “spastic,” which refers to a “condition in which muscles stiffen or tighten, preventing normal fluid movement.”
In addition to blowback on social media, disability advocate and writer Hannah Diviney wrote an op-ed in The Guardian on Monday (Aug. 1) in which she said that her “heart sank” when she heard the Renaissance lyric.
“It’s not very often that I don’t know what to say, rendered speechless by ignorance, sadness and a simmering anger born of bone-deep exhaustion. But that’s how I feel right now,” Diviney penned, noting that it’s been just six weeks since she called out Lizzo for using the same word on her Special song “Grrrls.” (Lizzo quickly responded to the controversy and removed the lyrics from the track.)
Arroyo, however, didn’t see the point, noting that Bey uses “the N-word, filthy terms for male/female genitalia, breasts and a–, but ‘spazz’ is the offensive term in that lyric,” before noting that “some” in the disability community take issue with the use of the word that has been tagged as ableist by advocates. “I don’t think she went far enough with the clean-up and lyric revision,” Arroyo said as Kilmeade grinned.
Kilmeade then noted that some people mellow with age. However, he said, “[Beyoncé’s] a parent … we haven’t really seen her in a while. Barely dressed, dancing around, and now she comes back more vile than ever. Putting out X-rated lyrics. Plus, what about the dimpled a– community,” he added. “Are they insulted by being used in her songs?”
“Or those with stretch-marked breasts, apparently,” Arroyo said, questioning why Drake — one of eight writers credited on the song — would write such lines. “Why you would sing them as a renowned woman who young people look to. I don’t quite get that.”
A spokesperson for Beyoncé has not yet returned Billboard‘s request for comment regarding the segment.
While decrying the “coarse” language in “Heated” and “Grrrls,” Arroyo also questioned why “trash talk is acceptable and yet we find this tiny little word that only offends people if you’re really looking for it and that’s the one we take out,” he concluded as the on-screen chyron read “Singers ignore true filth, yet fix their ‘ableism’.”
Watch the segment below (Beyoncé talk begins around the three-minute mark).