Beyonce is being asked to donate proceeds from her song “XO” after controversy arose from her use of an audio clip from the deadly space shuttle Challenger disaster in the tune.
An online petition, launched by Florida resident Sarah McNulty, urges the “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” singer to donate a quarter of the proceeds from the song to the Challenger Learning Center, which works to continue the Challenger Seven’s mission to explore and educate young minds in space and science education. (The organization was launched by the families of the astronauts who died in the tragic mission, using money received in legal retribution from NASA.)
“Challenger is one of those tragedies that is perpetually a very raw wound for everyone, especially those in the space industry, and I believe that it should never be treated as anything but,” McNulty, an aerospace industry employee who lives on Florida’s Space Coast, said of the petition. “It’s never okay to trivialize a tragedy, but trivializing a tragedy such as Challenger, which was meant to be an inspirational mission to enlighten and inspire the nation and give us heroes to look up to, is a crime.”
As of this writing, the petition had gathered a little over 3,900 signatures, out of its goal of 4,000.
The 1986 Challenger disaster, the result of a faulty O-ring on one of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters, caused the death of seven crew members. including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.
Beyonce drew heat for sampling audio from the disaster in “XO,” with Challenger widow June Scobee Rodgers expressing disappointment on the space agency watchdog website NASAWatch.com.
“We were disappointed to learn that an audio clip from the day we lost our heroic Challenger crew was used in the song ‘XO,'” Rodgers wrote.
The singer claimed in a statement that the audio sample was meant as a “tribute” to the Challenger crew, saying, “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.”