In the wake of the horrific, fatal attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, many American celebrities, especially comedians, have shown their support for the fallen journalists and police officers killed on Wednesday. On Wednesday night, Madonna commented on Charlie Hebdo by offering her support on Instagram, but with a strange, undermining addendum: she posted the wide-spread image that says "Je Suis Charlie," but for some reason tagged the photo #rebelheart after the name of her new album.
It's departure from the tone of other celebrities' messages. Jon Stewart gave a somber and pointed address on The Daily Show, saying that many people do not go into comedy as an act of courage because it shouldn't have to be, and many celebrities on Twitter expressed their sorrow and solidarity with the satirical French publication, dismayed and shocked at the violent attack not only on the journalists, cartoonists, editors, and policemen, but on the idea of free speech itself. As Mark Ruffalo tweeted, "What a tremendous loss. A free press is our greatest weapon against tyranny, home and abroad. #JeSuisCharlie." None of them felt the need to refer to their own projects.
If we want to be generous and give Madge the benefit of the doubt here, it's possible her intentions were good. She's been wildly promoting her music, regramming a photoshopped picture Miley Cyrus posted with her face on the cover of the new album, Rebel Heart. She's going for a theme of love and acceptance and tolerance. But even this is a thin argument, and it's hard to not see this as Madonna exploiting a tragedy to promote her own album.
The singer posted another photo right after of protestors in Paris with "Je Suis Charlie" signs, and also tagged it #rebelheart. It's uncomfortable, inappropriate, and all around weird. Madonna has been aggressive in the promotion for her new album, but I am surprised that she didn't realize — or no one advised her — that in the wake of such a senseless attack, self-promotion is definitely prohibited.
Like I said before, I assume her intentions were good. But, if I've said it once, I've said it a million times: intent doesn't matter or count for much when you are an offending party. The wake of a tragedy is no time for self-promotion.