British pop star and former Wham! singer George Michael passed away over the Christmas holiday. He was 53. Michael sold over 100 million albums globally and won numerous Grammy awards over the course of his career. His death stunned many on social media, who voiced their condolences to his family and shared their favorite of his songs.
While many expressed shock and sadness at his passing, some took to Twitter to politicize his death. In a series of tweets, Graham Linehan, the creator of the IT Crowd and other British comedy shows used Michael’s death as a cudgel against his political opponents—namely, Donald Trump and his supporters.
Linehan did not refrain from also including David Bowie and Prince, both of whom died earlier this year, in his political tirade.
“You know what Bowie, Prince and George Michael would have wanted? That we all go to the nearest American Embassy on Jan 20 and say ‘hell no,’” wrote Linehan.
In response to being called out for politicizing Michael’s death so soon after the news, Linehan wrote: “Dips**ts complaining about this tweet: I wasn’t a huge fan of his music. I choose to celebrate him as an activist.”
“The right wingers in my mentions are surely the dumbest people alive,” wrote Linehan. “Trump’s gonna make a fortune off these marks.”
He also tweeted that 2016 won’t end on December 31st, stating that “It will last until we drive Farage and Trump and all their s**thead ilk into the sea.” He wrote that it was necessary to “take activism offline/visible and show America that the world will never accept a s**thead President.”
Linehan wasn’t the only semi-famous person on Twitter to use George Michael’s death to serve his own agenda. Tom Warren, a senior editor at The Verge wrote: “We’ve lost David Bowie, Prince, and now George Michael. All stood for diversity and died in 2016, a year where hate has knocked love.”
Despite being an icon for the LGBT community, Prince was proudly religious and held views that could be considered homophobic. Regardless, using his death—along with Michael’s and Bowie’s—to push one’s political agenda is distasteful, and Warren was called out on it.
In response, he tweeted: “If there’s one thing I’m going to do in 2017 it’s spend less time on Twitter. Too many good people drowned out by a cesspool of s**t.”
Or perhaps no one wants to hear you talk politics when they’re grieving.