Lady Gaga's Disabled Mermaid Wheelchair Bit Sparks Controversy...and Egg Attack?

Kooky crooner takes heat for singing a song as a disabled mermaid

By Josh Grossberg Jul 14, 2011 5:15 PMTags
Lady GagaAP Images

Sure Lady Gaga is used to emerging from eggs—but getting egged?

Mama Monster has sparked an outcry from disability activists during a concert in Sydney where she performed "You and I" in a wheelchair. If that weren't bad enough, some angry fans even lobbed eggs at her and her posse during her Down Under visit.

So should we start calling her Yolk-o No-No?

The controversy started when Gaga decided to play a one-of-a-kind gig at Sydney Town Hall featuring her being wheeled out dressed as her fishy alter ego, Yuyi the Mermaid, black flipper and all.

A few hours later, the 25-year-old hitmaker made the rounds at a couple of the city's most popular gay clubs, Nevermind and Arq, where she performed a short set. As she departed the latter venue, Gaga and her entourage were targeted by pranksters hurling eggs at them. Gaga managed to dodge the offending orbs as she got in a waiting car.

It's unclear whether the egg incident was in reaction to the wheelchair stunt.

In a recent interview on the Taiwanese talk show Channel V, Gaga opened up about her new persona, saying, "Yuyi is an incubation, for anyone who knows what that means."

By "anyone," the singer clarified she meant her fanatical Little Monsters.

Gaga also revealed the disabled mermaid will be the subject of a new music video for her soon-to-be-announced new single off her blockbuster Born This Way album.

But not everyone has been thrilled with her artistic intentions. Several high-profile disability activists have spoken out against the bit, including Roman Reed, whose foundation lobbies for research for spinal cord injuries.

"Dear @ladygaga how about using your celebrity status 2 try 2 get us out of wheelchairs.Instead of cruising one.Cool?!" tweeted Reed on his group's feed.

He did add, however, "I like @ladygaga & would like hrr to help fund the research to get us out of our chairs like she can. Were on the Edge:-)"

Jesse Billauer, a quadrapalegic and founder and ambassador for advocacy group Life Rolls On, also sounded off.

"Since this isn't the first time she has used a wheelchair in her performances, I invite her to learn more about the 5.6 million Americans who live with paralysis," Jesse tells Radar. "They, like me, unfortunately, don't use a wheelchair for shock value."

Billauer added he too hopes the recording powerhouse will help bring more attention to his cause.

"I extend a personal invitation to Lady Gaga to attend one of our Life Rolls On events where quadriplegics and paraplegics surf, skate, and snowboard, so she can see how much is possible beyond a wheelchair," he said. "Maybe that will be most shocking to her of all."

But this isn't the first time she's upset disability activists, having previously appeared in a wheelchair for her "Paparazzi" video, which she defended to Vanity Fair as a statement on the hilarious lengths people will go to "fame-whore themselves."

So far she's been mum about the latest controversy. Knowing Gaga, though, we don't expect that to be the case for long.