Sinéad O'Connor 'Not Sorry' for Tearing Photo of Pope John Paul II

It's almost 30 years since Sinéad O'Connor tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live to protest abuse in the Catholic Church, in one of the many controversial moments of her career.

Now the renowned yet troubled singer has reminisced on the incident, confirming she is "not sorry" she did it.

"I'm not sorry I did it. It was brilliant," O'Connor, now 54, said in an interview with The New York Times this week.

"But it was very traumatizing," she added. "It was open season on treating me like a crazy b****."

She's not wrong—the backlash was swift and intense, jeopardizing her career and reputation in 1992.

Sinéad O'Connor
Singer Sinéad O'Connor rips up a picture of Pope John Paul II October 3, 1992 on the TV show "Saturday Night Live." Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

The following week, actor Joe Pesci hosted SNL and threatened to "smack" O'Connor over ripping-up the photo in his monologue. Frank Sinatra called her "one stupid broad," and she was also booed when she appeared on stage at a Bob Dylan tribute concert.

She was even condemned by the Anti-Defamation League and The Washington Times labeled her "the face of pure hatred."

Madonna criticized O'Connor in the press, telling the Irish Times: "I think there is a better way to present her ideas rather than ripping up an image that means a lot to other people."

O'Connor was ahead of her time in exposing the Catholic Church on the world stage. Her defiant act is now seen by many as a courageous form of protest in recognition of countless, voiceless children abused at the hands of the organization, particularly in her native Ireland where such crimes were an open secret for decades.

The convictions of a number of priests has contributed to the decline of the Catholic Church in modern Ireland.

Pope John Paul II acknowledged the church's role in the abuse and cover-ups in 2001.

O'Connor is releasing a memoir next month titled Rememberings.

In the book, she discussed the fallout from her SNL appearance and how it ultimately saw her carve out a different path in her fame.

"I could just be me. Do what I love. Be imperfect. Be mad, even," she writes in the book. "I'm not a pop star. I'm just a troubled soul who needs to scream into mikes now and then."

However, she told the NYT that what occurred afterward "was a very lonesome, lonesome 10 years."

Elsewhere in the profile, O'Connor compared her treatment to that of Britney Spears.

"What they did to Britney Spears was disgusting," she said. "If you met a stranger in the street crying, you'd put your arms around her. You wouldn't start taking photos of her, you know?"

O'Connor converted to Islam a number of years ago and changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat, but still goes by her birth name too.

Sinéad O'Connor
Singer-songwriter Sinéad O'Connor performs on stage at Vogue Theatre on February 01, 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. Andrew Chin/Getty Images