M.I.A. Posted a ‘Scary’ Halloween Picture With Conservative Commentator Candace Owens

M.I.A. didn’t dress up over the weekend, but on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 30) the “Paper Planes” rapper posted what she said was a “scary picture for Halloween” in which she casually posed with controversial conservative commentator Candace Owens.


“#FreeSpeech,” M.I.A. captioned the post — which Owens re-posted — in which she stands with a neutral look next to a smiling Owens. The outspoken conservative talker’s name was in headlines earlier this month when she appeared at Kanye West’s Paris Fashion Week show modeling one of Ye’s provocative “White Lives Matter” t-shirts.

The stunt was met with widespread backlash from the supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, especially given phrase’s ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in their response to BLM. After getting temporarily booted from Twitter and Instagram for posting antisemitic messages, Ye has reportedly been in talks to buy the right-wing friendly social network Parler, which is owned by Owens’ husband, George Farmer.

Known for her strong, sometimes in-your-face political and social statements, M.I.A.’s snap with Owens seemed to divide her fanbase, with a number of comments under the picture saying it was a step too far. “Taking your music out of my playlist,” wrote one, with another joking, “There’s a vampire beside you, that *is* scary.” When a commenter joked, “Ah yes. The scariest thing… a Republican?,” someone responded, “No…a Republican who mocks slavery, George Floyd’s death, and other important matters. Candace owens knows what she is doing and she doesn’t care bc it keeps her relevant on some ridiculous level.”

Other comments included, “Not scary. Just disappointing” and “It’s kinda ironic that the one who made the ‘Born Free’ music video is now posing with someone who wore a White Lives Matter shirt,” while one featured DJ Khaled intoning his classic tagline, “Congratulations you played yourself.”

Earlier this month M.I.A. (born Mathangi Arulpragasam) raised some eyebrows when she doubled-down on her anti-vaccine stance while weighing in on the $965 million verdict against conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones. “If Alex Jones pays for lying shouldn’t every celebrity pushing vaccines pay too?” she tweeted in reference to the massive sanction Jones was hit with for falsely and repeatedly claiming the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting massacre was staged by actors as part of a conspiracy to take away American’s guns.

Owens is an expert at stoking the outrage machine, recently posting a teaser for a documentary she created (The Greatest Lie Ever Sold) and boasting in the caption “I broke Black Lives Matter.” Over the weekend she also appeared to question the veracity of reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was brutally attacked at the couple’s California home by a man who authorities say amplified antisemitic and white supremacist ideas online.

“I am hearing A LOT of stuff about this Pelosi story… Nothing confirmed yet but this could get interesting for sure,” Owens wrote a day after police had identified the attacker, who stormed the home shouting “Where is Nancy?” — a phrase also used by some of the Jan. 6 insurrectionist as they searched for the democratic leader while storming the Capitol. The alleged assailant was expected to be charged on Monday (Oct. 31) with felonies that include attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and elder abuse.

Owens’ apparent questioning of the facts in the Pelosi attack was similar in tone to a message posted, then deleted, by new Twitter owner Elon Musk. The “free-speech absolutist” SpaceX/Tesla boss posted an unfounded anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory on Sunday morning based on a report from a site NBC News said has a history of posting false information. “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” Musk wrote alongside a link to the site in response to a tweet from former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton about the suspect’s far-right conspiracy theories and what she said was the Republican party’s penchant for “spread[ing] hate and deranged conspiracy theories.”

At press time M.I.A. — who has been teasing her upcoming MATA album — did not give any additional context for her snap with Owens.

See M.I.A.’s post below.

Gil Kaufman