O'Connor hits back at 'slave-driving' Boyzone creator

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The Independent Culture

Sinéad O'Connor and the impresario who created Boyzone, Louis Walsh, have become embroiled in an acrimonious and personal feud, after he accused the singer of being "difficult" and a "wasted talent".

Walsh, who manages Westlife, Samantha Mumba, Girls Aloud and Bellefire, fired off his first salvo in an interview in last week's Sunday Independent, an Irish sister paper of The Independent.

But he might not have bargained for the singer's blistering response in the same newspaper yesterday. O'Connor launched a devastating critique of Walsh, who is a judge on ITV's talent show, Popstars: The Rivals. "You have been a slave-driver of young people," she wrote. "I have seen the way you work them. And you are gonna get burnt." She told Walsh: "You have single-handedly taken the soul out of Irish music and danced a vampire dance upon it."

The artists in his stable "can't even sing in their own accents," she said. "Because of you, scores of young people want 'fame' so much that they are prepared to humiliate themselves by coming on crap shows like the awful one you are involved with."

Young hopefuls "have themselves subjected to abuse from you and other C-list, so-called 'celebs' who seem to have no ability to respect the soft hearts of people who need love so much that they think fame is how they will get it.

"When I rang you last Monday to ask how you could know if I am professionally 'difficult', you stated that you don't know, but someone told you. So what are you doing making like other people's opinions are yours?" she wrote. "You are a vampire, Louis Walsh. God of a vampire business, a fake reality. A false god with no apparent soul of your own to feed upon. And seemingly no bleedin' mind of your own either." O'Connor said "difficult" was a term used by men who expect women to "behave" in certain ways. "And when we do not, these men label us with words like 'difficult', 'deranged' and 'crazy' ". Mr Walsh refused to respond, saying: "It's too easy to slag her off."