Sinead O’Connor was at the peak of her career when NBC asked her to perform on Saturday Night Live back in the fall of 1992. Just two weeks after the release of her third album Am I Not Your Girl?, O’Connor performed an a cappella cover of Bob Marley’s “War” in protest against sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. At the end of her 3 minutes and 15-second performance, she held up a photo of Pope John Paul II and tore it into pieces. After tossing the pieces to the ground, she stated: “Fight the real enemy.” The studio audience and everyone in their homes looked on in silent shock. There was no applause before NBC cut to commercial.
Re-runs of the SNL episode use video taken from her dress rehearsal where she holds up a photo of a young refugee instead.