Beyonce Exploits Space Challenger Tragedy & Her Apology Is Even Worse (VIDEO)

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BeyonceHave you been listening to the songs on Beyonce's "surprise, I totally dropped a new 'visual album' out of freaking nowhere" self-titled music collection? I haven't heard all of the new tunes, but I did notice the seemingly odd intro to her song "XO," which starts out with a somber audio clip that references "a major malfunction."

As it turns out, that audio is from 1986, and the voice belongs to then-NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt. The moment was 1 minute and 56 seconds post-liftoff of the space shuttle Challenger, just after the Challenger was enveloped in a deadly explosion.

Does it seem a little … strange to you that Beyonce would use audio from the space shuttle Challenger disaster in a song about a doomed relationship? If so, you're not alone: NASA astronauts and Challenger family members alike are upset with Beyonce for her insensitive decision -- and her lame 'apology' is downright ridiculous.

Here's how "XO" starts, with the following six seconds of crackling audio:

Flight controllers here looking very carefully at the situation. Obviously a major malfunction.

I honestly thought Beyonce had achieved some sort of rare golden celebrity status where she was virtually untouchable by media controversy, but it turns out she's not impervious to PR blunders after all. I can't quite imagine the thinking that went into using that clip from the tragedy, but it's being explained as a "tribute" to the crew, which is maybe the most eye-rolling thing I've ever heard. I mean, check out the song and video:

Such a beautiful way to honor the Challenger crew, right? COME ON.

Former NASA employee Keith Cowing has decried the use of the clip, saying,

This choice of historic and solemn audio is inappropriate in the extreme. The choice is little different than taking Walter Cronkite's words to viewers announcing the death of President Kennedy or 911 calls from the World Trade Center attack and using them for shock value in a pop tune.

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger space shuttle commander Dick Scobee said,

We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song 'XO.' The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends.

I actually don't agree that the clip was used for "shock value," I think it was just pure stupidity. The Challenger incident happened almost 28 years ago, so I'm guessing the gravity of the event is lost on many. What really adds insult to injury, though, is Beyonce's statement about the clip:

My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster. The song 'XO' was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you. The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.

Okay, that's just gross. It's gross to compare a fictional romance to the space shuttle disaster, it's gross to say the lyrics ("I love it like XO / You love me like XO / You kill me boy XO / You love me like XO") are a TRIBUTE to the people who died on that day, and it's ultra-gross to shirk responsibility by blaming the "songwriters."

Beyonce's created an impressively spotless superstar brand for herself over the years, but I'd say she really and truly dropped the ball on this one. In my opinion, she should have simply apologized and re-released the song without the intro, instead of issuing that complete bullshit about healing.

What do you think about Beyonce's decision to use the clip, and her subsequent explanation?

Image via YouTube

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teddy... teddysmama09

This was really bad taste. Unless the song was specifically meant to be a tribute, like the song "I will remember you" with audio clips from the 9/11 disaster, there is no reason to use actual audio recordings of a horrible tragedy. It does not sound like Beyonces song was a tribute to lost love ones, it is a song about a breakup. Not cool Beyoncé.

nonmember avatar Jennifer

She and her apology are disgusting. I'm a lifelong Houstonian and can't believe the audacity of that apology. I went to school with one of the kids who lost a parent on the Challenger. It's not something to ever be trivialized. She has totally lost touch and the use of the audio was just gross. Believe me heads are rolling over here in H-town and absolutely no one is coming to her defense when the topic is discussed. (Never thought anyone would be turned off by Beyoncé in this town but this sure as heck did a fast job of it.)

nonmember avatar SickOfHearingIt

Both the using the clip and the apology are so tone deaf and out of touch with common decency and humanity. There are just some things in this world that you do not appropriate for frivolous purposes, such as pop songs.

nonmember avatar lilah

She is one of the worst female influences out there and it takes super gross behavior for other people to see it. Wake up and see her for the marketing mannequin she is, not someone to admire.

adamat34 adamat34

What a peice of shit.

Wonder if she would exploit slavery? Dumbass.

wamom223 wamom223

For me its so upsetting because that is a moment that really stands out in my childhood.  They talked about it for months at school and we were watching the launch live.  When things started to go bad it was like all of us were in a daze, no one moving, until the Principal came on the loud speaker and told all teachers to turn the TV off.  It was a hard day for many reasons and I wonder if she doesn't understand the significance because she probably wasn't even born yet or was too young to remember.  This would be like someone using audio from someone on 911.  Its disgusting and its not one of those things you can just apologize for and people move on.  But I don't really think she gave an apology she gave an excuse and it came up lacking.

nonmember avatar Mindi G

Explain to me how any of this song gives tribute???? Does she really think were that stupid??? I was only 13 when this happen and even I know how heartbreaking the tragedy was. I even wonder if she was the one who actually isdued the statement or if it was her terrible PR people. How about you just be sensitive to others and rerealease it without the audio at the begining.......

calim... calimomma707

shes just weird ever since her fake baby belly deflated...freaky!!!(state farm baby voice)

Yolie Scott

I was working for Rockwell Intl in the Space Division and when that happened we were all crying. It's a shame someone would think this is something to put on an album, it just brings back bad memories.

nonmember avatar Bonita

Tasteless for sure, but that's what we get when someone thinks they are above the fray. Beyoncé, the higher you climb, the farther you fall. Apologize, delete that audio and re-release. Or release audio of when MLK was killed to even it out... GASP!

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