Arts & Entertainment | April 16, 2020 2:45 pm

Microsoft Pulled an Ad After Conspiracy Theorists Accused Star Marina Abramovic of Satanism

No, it doesn't make sense

Microsoft Ad Pulled After Allegations of Satanism
Not a Satanist!
Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images

Alright, so this is a weird one.

Microsoft has removed a new ad featuring artist Marina Abramovic after right-wing conspiracy theorists accused her of Satanism, Artnet News reported. That sentence may read like a MadLib, but unfortunately it describes an actual thing that happened in real life because the world is currently hellbent on proving itself a far stranger place than any of us imagined possible.

Microsoft released the ad for HoloLens2, a headset designed for mixed reality, on April 10. The ad featured Abramovic discussing her mixed reality work The Life, and absolutely no mention of or allusion to Satanism. Despite that fact — yes, fact — it wasn’t long before right-wing conspiracy theorists began accusing the ad and its star of promoting it.

According to Artnet, the Satanism accusations stem from an incident four years ago in which Abramovic hosted a fundraising dinner party called “Spirit Cooking with Marina Abramovic,” a play on a series of 1990s performances in which she used pig’s blood to write phrases such as “fresh morning urine sprinkle over nightmare dreams.” According to internet conspiracy theorists, this was clear evidence of a “sex cult” or “bizarre occult ritual.”

To be clear, it was neither of those things, with Abramovic defending herself saying, “I’m outraged, because this is taken completely out of my context. Anybody who wants can read my memoirs and find out that [my work] is far away from Satanism.”

Moreover, it’s worth noting that most allegedly “satanic” activities — regardless of the perpetrator — actually have nothing to do with Satanism or the Church of Satan, which was founded in 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey. The religion deals with swirling misconceptions on a near daily basis, because — as the Church of Satan’s Twitter moderators have to point out with some frequency — no one ever reads the FAQ.

Anyway, that’s somehow the reason a Microsoft ad was taken down, though Microsoft itself has very reasonably declined to comment, simply telling Artnet, “Microsoft doesn’t have anything additional to share here. Thanks!”

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