Northern Ireland’s health minister has filed a lawsuit against musician Van Morrison, accusing him of defamation.
Health Minister Robin Swann claims Morrison’s public comments harmed his reputation by implying he was unfit for his role and bungled the pandemic, Northern Ireland’s Sunday Life newspaper reported.
Morrison was angry that his concerts were canceled because of COVID lockdowns that Swann ordered. In June, Morrison tried to get his fans at a Belfast hotel to chant: “Robin Swann is very dangerous.”
When he was later asked about it by Sunday Life, Morrison said he didn’t regret it, adding: “Of course he’s dangerous.”
Morrison then posted a video on YouTube explaining exactly why he thought Swann was dangerous. He claimed to have contacted Swann and demanded “scientific evidence” to justify banning live music during the pandemic.
Morrison wrote three songs last year —“No More Lockdown,” “Born to Be Free” and “As I Walked Out” — all of which bashed the government and protested the COVID lockdowns. As Morrison sings on “No More Lockdown”:
“No more lockdown
No more government overreach
No more fascist bullies
Disturbing our peace
No more taking of our freedom
And our God-given rights
Pretending it’s for our safety
When it’s really to enslave.”
Many fans took issue with the songs:
Swann slammed the songs in an op-ed that appeared in Rolling Stone, and said they would give conspiracy theorists “great comfort.” He called the theorists the “tinfoil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines.”
Morrison could not immediately be reached for comment on the suit.