Morrissey rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths, then went on to become a successful soloist.
Morrissey has been accused of racism throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, due to ambiguous lyrics in songs such as "Bengali in Platforms," "Asian Rut" and "The National Front Disco," the latter containing the lyric "England for the English".
More recently, 2008, he donated £28,000 to the Love Music Hate Racism campaign after making anti-immigration comments.
For almost three decades, indie rock icon Morrissey has made almost as many enemies as devoted fans willing to hang on his every melancholy-drenched lyric. Described by one high court judge as "devious, truculent and unreliable", the former Smiths frontman is no stranger to controversy and criticism.
Morrissey has been a vegetarian since the age of 11 and is an animal rights advocate who last year abandoned the stage at the Coachella festival in California because of the smell of cooking meat, described the treatment of animals in China as "absolutely horrific". Referring to the recent news about animals in Chinese circuses and zoos being mistreated, he made the comment about Chinese people. He told interviewer Simon Armitage: "Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies."
"It really is just crude racism," said Martin Smith. "When you start using language like 'subspecies', you are entering into dark and murky water. I don't think we would, or could, ask him to come back after that."
Interviewer Armitage, said Morrissey was typically and deliberately provocative throughout the interview. "I thought at the time it was a dangerous thing to say into a tape recorder. He must have known it would make waves, he's not daft," he said. "But he's provocative and theatrical, and it was one of dozens of dramatic pronouncements. I'm not an apologist for that kind of remark, and couldn't ignore it. But clearly, when it comes to animal rights and animal welfare, he's absolutely unshakable in his beliefs. In his view, if you treat an animal badly, you are less than human. I think that was his point."
Morrissey stated: "If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade – animals skinned alive – then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible."