What happened
Former Smiths frontman Morrissey is filing a lawsuit against NME, claiming he was libeled. In an interview for the current issue of the magazine, the British singer is quoted as saying, “Although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears.” Morrissey claims that several of his comments were taken out of context.

What the commentators said

This is nothing new for Morrissey, said Katie Franklin and Aislinn Simpson in the Telegraph. “In 1992, he was criticized by NME after he appeared on stage in Finsbury Park to support Madness wrapped in a Union Jack flag. Some of his song titles and lyrics have also attracted criticism, including the tracks ‘Bengali in Platforms’ and ‘National Front Disco.’”

NME should be nervous, said Ben Hoyle in the Times Online. “Morrissey takes his legal battles seriously. He is still challenging, at great expense, a 1996 High Court judgment that ordered him to pay the Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce £1.25 million in back earnings. The judge described the singer as ‘devious, truculent and unreliable when his own interests were at stake.’”

Does anyone else see the irony in all of this? said Oliver Duff in The Independent. Morrissey’s “parents were Irish Catholic immigrants to Manchester,” and the man himself “left Dublin a decade ago to set up home in Los Angeles. He now lives in Rome.”

He’s just out of touch, said Stuart Heritage in the blog Heckler Spray. He’s “doing that ridiculous ex-pat thing where you spend a few months living abroad listening to nothing but The Kinks and Blur, slowly convincing yourself that England is a quaint little picture postcard” place to live.

Morrissey never seems to learn, said Jess Harvel in the blog Idolator. You’d think he’d “know better” than to make comments like these “after two decades of dealing with reporters hungry for sensationalistic quotes from a noted crank who thinks the modern world blows, and eager to tart up their stories with crypto-racist rhetoric.”

Isn’t it obvious that this is a publicity stunt? said the blog MusicRooms.net. “All this hoo ha blew up on the day Morrissey announced that he had signed a new record deal with Universal’s Polydor, who will release a new studio album from him next year.”