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Fame Faces Religion

Photo Courtesy of First Post.

October 31, 2023, was the day former Disney Channel star Sabrina Carpenter released a new music video for her song, “Feathers.” The song was made to revel in the freedom of singledom, more or less the idea of ‘breaking free from a toxic relationship.’ Many would think this music video would spread a good message to audiences everywhere, but instead, it caused chaos in the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, where religion should never be mocked for publicity. 


Sabrina Carpenter’s music video was shot in a Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, New York. Carpenter claims she and her crew were granted permission by the church’s pastor to tape the video at the church, despite the comments claiming the video had no place being shot in such a vulnerable and holy environment due to its anti-Catholic content. The pastor of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brooklyn, Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, was stripped of his duties and removed from his post as ‘Vicar of Development for the Diocese’ (New York Post). Some of you may be questioning why the pastor was removed for allowing a music video to be recorded in a church, and the reason for this is because of the inappropriate scenes recorded by Sabrina.


In the music video, the overall theme is that men who objectify Carpenter with cat-calls and unwanted attention, die for their unethical actions; for example, a man cat-calls Sabrina and dies shortly after by a passing truck. Another man dies after attempting to take photos up her skirt, and so on. Throughout the video, these deaths are depicted somewhat graphically, with blood splattering on the young pop star. Also, Carpenter’s outfits throughout the video would not be appropriate for Sunday Mass, to say the least.


Many in the public and the Church did not react kindly to such provocative content being recorded in a sacred place, as it went against what the Church thought the video would entail. After the music video gained over a million views and comments, the Diocese became aware of the situation, pushing back with the Bishop of Brooklyn, Robert J. Brennan making a statement about the situation. The former vicar, Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, expressed his ignorance, stating that a “locally based film crew” approached the parish asking to use the church “for what was presented as a production featuring Sabrina Carpenter. The parish staff and I were not aware that anything provocative was occurring in the church nor were we aware that faux coffins and other funeral items would be placed in the sanctuary. Most of the video was supposed to be filmed outside, near the church, which it was” (CNA). Bishop Brennan responded strongly, condemning the use of the sacred space by the pop star, firing the pastor, and saying a “mass of reparation” at the church in response to the desecration (CNA). 


Although viewers and fans began lashing out at the celebrity for her disrespectful actions that had cost her the position of a religious pastor, the pop icon remained unfazed by the comments and emotions expressed by all. During an interview with Variety, Carpenter nonchalantly replied,  “We got approval in advance… Jesus was a Carpenter” (Variety). After her comments, some fans changed their opinions on the situation and treated Sabrina’s statement as iconic. Others felt she only disrespected the church and their sacred home even more. It sounds like Sabrina does not care enough to take the matter seriously. It appears she got what she wanted and was satisfied with the additional fame she acquired.


The music video currently has over twelve million views, and people are still debating whether she is at fault, and if the pastor should have lost his position at the church. Others question whether Sabrina Carpenter and her team were transparent with what the music video would contain in their communications with the church. All things considered, the question remains: is fame worth more than respecting religion?

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