Adele Sends Music Royalty into a Snit

Bob Geldof criticizes Adele, remake of Don't They Know It's Christmas, Geldof raises money for Ebola, Phil Collins criticizes Adele

photo from

So, apparently Adele declined to be part of Sir Bob Geldof’s Band Aid 30 Ebola Charity single recording and he’s in a bit of a snit about it.

The song, a 30th-anniversary adaptation of the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was produced to raise money for the Ebola crisis in West Africa, much in the same the way the original raised money to help the starving in Ethiopia. Sir Bob said demand for the song was “bonkers” and raised over £1 million. It topped the iTunes chart within an hour of being released. He insists 100% of the money will go towards Ebola relief efforts. Some criticize the project as condescending and misguided, but many respect Geldof’s intentions as pure and give him props for having his heart in the right place.

One of the artists he invited to take part in this effort was British mega-star Adele. For whatever reason she has not made public (and is really none of the public’s business,) Adele declined to participate. She made a monetary donation to Oxfam, an organization that fights global poverty and is also working to provide emergency aid for Ebola. Fine. So end of story, right?

Well, apparently not for Sir Bob. On Sunday, November 16th, he was quoted as responding to Adele’s decision (or lack of response – I’m unclear on which) by throwing the following tantrum:

“Adele is doing nothing. She’s not answering the phone…she doesn’t want to be bothered by anyone. She won’t even pick up the phone to her manager. She’s bringing up a family, you know. Some people just don’t want to do it.”

He is further quoted by the BBC as saying:

“Adele won’t pick up the phone to her manager,” he said. “Some people just don’t want to do it, some people say no.

“Adele, on the other hand, isn’t engaged in rock and roll, pop music, not picking up the phone to anyone. Brilliant.”

Now, I don’t have the benefit of video to give me the tone and body language Geldof used when making these pronouncements. Here I’m going to take a giant leap, though, and guess he wasn’t being complimentary and gracious.

A couple of days later, Geldof completely denied he viewed Adele’s behavior as a snub:

“There is no snub. I am only aware of this this morning, it’s nonsense. Complete nonsense.”

Sir Bob has been talking about this since Sunday, so I’m not sure what he was made aware of to apparently change his tune, but I won’t dwell on that. What sticks in my craw about this whole episode is two-fold:

1. Geldof is not only painting Adele as a diva, but in so doing, he’s mocking and belittling her for taking time off from the limelight to raise her son.

2. Geldof didn’t respond to the male entertainers who declined in the same way.

Artist and Rapper Fuse ODG said ‘no’ to Geldof’s invitation because the song was not in line with his personal beliefs, nor with the image of Africa he wanted to project. Still, he praised Sir Bob’s efforts, and said on Twitter that Geldof “respectfully acknowledged my decision.” Not only that, Sir Bob went on to gush and agree with Fuse ODG’s point of view:

“Geldof has addressed Fuse’s comments, admitting that he is “quite right”. “[There’s] this ridiculous image of this continent, seven of the top ten fastest growing economies in the planet are African and of those seven, five are countries where Band Aid operated ….”

Perhaps if Adele had answered admiringly and directly, Sir Bob wouldn’t have singled her out with his little hissy fit. Perhaps if she had a reason other than “not doing anything” in the music business while she adapted to life as a new mother, he might have “respectfully acknowledged” her decision.

Interestingly, Bob Geldof isn’t the only victim of one of Adele’s “snubs.” No, apparently Phil Collins received the brush-off, too – yet another casualty of her new motherhood.

Sir Phil reacted by calling her names and calling her out, saying she was a “slippery little fish” for asking him to finish a song for her, then not getting back to him about it because of her “hectic personal life:”

“She said, ‘No, no, I’m moving house and the baby’s taking up a lot of my time, I’m not actually doing anything at the moment.’ And now I’ve heard there’s a [new album] coming out. I’m not on it, I know that ….”

Despite rumors to the contrary, Adele’s new album won’t be out until 2015, but another Knight of the Realm has had his feelings hurt.  Apparently it didn’t occur to either Geldof (whom I dislike) or Collins (whom I love) that instead of belittling Adele (who doesn’t elicit strong feelings in me either way) for the way she is handling her music career and decisions, there is another option. There is the option of keeping hurt feelings private, and acting as a mature professional by saying, “No, regretfully, Adele is not working with us on this,” and leaving it at that.

Listen, I don’t know the woman. Maybe Adele is being manipulative and/or coy. Maybe she is a diva. But maybe – just maybe – she’s finding it hard to keep her shit together while navigating new parenthood. Maybe, Sirs Bob and Phil, she is not doing this:

but instead, is doing this:

Adele and son

Image via

Aliza Worthington grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and now lives in Baltimore. She began writing in 2009 at the age of 40. Sometimes her writing follows The Seinfeld Model of “no learning, no hugging.” Other times it involves lots of both. She blogs about Life, Liberty and Happiness at “The Worthington Post.” Her work also appears in Purple Clover. She has written for Catonsville PatchKveller, and has been featured in the Community Spotlight section of Daily Kos under the username “Horque.” Her writing has also landed in the “Winner’s Circle” on Midlife Collage twice. Her piece for The Broad Side, Leaving Gender at the Door, was chosen as a BlogHer Voice of the Year in 2013. Follow her on Twitter at @AlizaWrites.

  • SUPER INTERESTING given the fact the husband works at Pandora.

    • Aliza Worthington


  • Actually, in the video interview, he’s not upset at all. He did not snub her. He said, as a father, he totally understands why she didn’t want to do it. Actually, I bet it was for artistic reasons that she said no. Adele is smart like that. Ahh, the Internet …

    • Aliza Worthington

      Kristi, thank you for your comment! The offending quotes were from days before that (where I do not have a video link…) The Sky article with the video clip comes days later, wherein it appears to ME he is doing damage control about rumors regarding the snub and having called her a hundred times.


  • good for Adele for following her own lead and nobody else’s…let the chips fall where they may..

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