Kurt Loder on infamous 1998 Jewel interview: 'I've been ashamed of having done it ever since'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read
Jewel has opened up about the challenges of being a woman in the music industry. (Photo: Duane Prokop/Getty Images for The Wellness Experience by Kroger)
Jewel has opened up about the challenges of being a woman in the music industry. (Photo: Duane Prokop/Getty Images for The Wellness Experience by Kroger)

There was an infamous story that MTV's Kurt Loder did on Jewel in 1998, just after she'd published a book of poetry, A Night Without Armor, that still bothers her. He was condescending and corrected her use of the word "casualty" on air, and she told him he was "a smart-ass for pointing that out."

And it still bothers her.

"I was so pissed. He was just a d***. What an ass to show himself like that," Jewel told Stereogum in an interview published Friday. "It was almost that thing where you'd feel sorry for somebody — it's like, 'Wow, here's a full-grown man who does news for children, on a children's network, for teenagers.' Yeah. You're bitter."

Now, in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment, Loder says, "That MTV interview I did with Jewel was a s****y thing to do to anyone, and I've been ashamed of having done it ever since. If I could go back in time I'd smack me in the head. However, I'm not a college graduate...."

For her part, Jewel said in the same Stereogum interview that the story audiences have always heard about her having lived in her car just before she became famous was missing some crucial information. The reason that the "Who Will Save Your Soul" artist was living there was that she refused to have sex with her boss.

"My whole career, the slant that the media gave it was through a really, I dare say, patriarchal lens," the Masked Singer winner said. "You think of my origin story, right? The whole world knows I lived in my car — they think because I was fighting for my dream of music. That is an absolute misrepresentation of what happened."

Jewel said that, in retaliation, the unnamed boss wouldn't pay her.

"I refused to be leveraged and he wouldn't give me my paycheck and I couldn't pay my rent and I started living in my car," she said. "And then my car got stolen and I was homeless because of that, because I wouldn't bang a boss."

In fact, she said she didn't even necessarily want to record albums or win Grammys at that point.

"I was not even thinking I would be a musician. I was trying to figure out how to stand up for myself, how to refuse to be leveraged for anything or anyone," said Jewel, whose full name is Jewel Kilcher. "It was an active defiance, it was an act of courage. It cost me a lot, but it won me myself. It won me my humanity. I'm so proud of that decision. It was so funny to see it portrayed as some cute, fluffy little, 'Aw, she was fighting for her dream.' I didn't even have a dream. It's not what I was doing."

Jewel said her negative experiences with male journalists included another asking her, "How do you give a b*** job with those f*****-up teeth?"

Then a disc jockey began their interview by talking about her body.

"I remember South Carolina, live on air, 'Hey, you may have heard me describe my next guest as a large-breasted woman from Alaska. Jewel, how are you?' I said, 'You must be the small-penis man I've heard so much about from South Carolina,'" Jewel recalled. "Escorted out of the radio station. Like, that was just life. That's what life was like."

Jewel's album Freewheelin' Woman, her first in seven years, drops April 22.