DFW Music News

For Demi Lovato, Calling E.T.s 'Aliens' Is Wrong But Jokes About Deportation Are Cool

Demi Lovato's comments are demi-consistent.
Demi Lovato's comments are demi-consistent. Rich Fury/Getty
North Texas star Demi Lovato has been a role model since first appearing on Barney & Friends in the early 2000s. We’re trying hard to root for the singer-actor, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Lovato, who came out as nonbinary in May and uses the pronoun “they,” can’t seem to stop making headlines simply for speaking.

Lovato is not a fan of the Sigourney Weaver vehicle Alien and wants to rename it E.T. OK, that’s not exactly what Lovato said, but that’s the sort of logic the internet inferred this week when the singer expressed their disapproval over the term “alien” when used to describe a being from another planet — yeah, planet — in an Oct. 5 interview with website Pedestrian.

“I think that we have to stop calling them aliens because aliens is a derogatory term for anything,” Lovato said. “That’s why I like to call them ETs! So yeah, that’s a little tidbit. A little information that I learned.”

The publication included an editor’s note in the story that read: “As per Demi’s guidance, we have refrained from using the A-word in this article as it’s an offensive term, no matter who you’re directing it at. It’s ETs, folks. File that away, please!”

Lovato was promoting the new Peacock series Unidentified With Demi Lovato, which premiered at the end of September and documents Lovato’s attempts to have a close encounter of the third kind, traveling to different cities to search for proof of extraterrestrial life.

The series, not to be confused (though no one would) with The History Channel’s 2019 docuseries also called Unidentified, seems more like an Anne-Heche-breakdown-in-the-desert claim to alien existence
than History Channel legit, though we haven’t watched it and probably won’t.

One clip of Lovato’s Unidentified shows the performer singing solo, a cappella, in a dark, empty room, to the alieee … extraterrestrials they believe are listening. Lovato is then overjoyed to receive what they believe is a response back in the form of some radio static. The singer compared the static "message" to a standing ovation, displaying a lapse in wokeness by making the ableist assumption that aliens E.T.s can stand.

While the term “alien” can be considered offensive to foreign-born humans residing in a different country from their place of birth, extraterrestrials, so far, have not specified what they prefer to be called or if they even exist. Lovato was of course whipped by internet backlash for the excessively PC comment, and this isn’t the first time — even this year — that the singer’s attempts at wokeness have backfired.

Back in April, Lovato made a post to their Instagram stories calling out a frozen yogurt shop in Los Angeles called The Big Chill for offering sugar-free options in their menu.

"Finding it extremely hard to order froyo from @Thebiggchillofficial when you have to walk past tons of sugar-free cookies/other diet foods before you get to the counter," Lovato wrote. "Do better please. #dietculturevultures.”

Lovato is an outspoken activist for body positivity after struggling with eating disorders and addiction. After Lovato's post, The Big Chill and thousands of commenters pointed out that the store’s healthy options cater to customers with medically necessary dietary restrictions, and Lovato was slammed for trying to bring down a small business struggling through the pandemic.

The recovering addict was also the subject of national controversy in April after declaring themselves as "California sober," meaning that they abstained from all substances except for marijuana.

And there was also the time back in January, when Lovato responded to the news of the Capitol Hill riots by tweeting that they were "in the studio working on something special after today's assault on democracy," with the hashtag "#impeachtrumptonight."

The timing of Lovato's record announcement wasn't met with a standing ovation of any sort.

In January 2019, Lovato deleted their Twitter account after getting dragged for tweeting that their favorite part of the Super Bowl were the memes about 21 Savage.

The rapper was trending on social media after he was arrested in Atlanta by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which alleged that the U.K. citizen had entered the United States legally as a minor in 2005 but had overstayed his visa.

To sum up, in case you’re lost, Lovato thinks someone getting deported is funny but potentially living aliens from outer space should be addressed with a politically correct term, TBD.

Lovato has a well-documented history of not thinking things through and getting simple concepts mixed up. In a video interview in May 2020 while promoting an album in Europe, Lovato was asked to name their favorite dish, and the singer’s response was an epic, George W. Bush-sized blunder: “I like mugs, because they’re very comfortable in your hand,” Lovato said of actual mugs. “They hold hot things that you don’t have to touch, you know, coffee or hot tea.”

Perhaps Lovato was jetlagged. But the singer responded to the mixup by claiming to be joking.

“For anyone who actually thinks I misunderstood the ‘favorite dish’ question — you clearly don’t get my sense of humor,” the singer tweeted after the video started making the rounds online.

We can’t wait to see how Lovato tries to walk back their alien activism.
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio