Why Lady Gaga's Migraine Commercial Is So Controversial

Lady Gaga's cringey Nurtec commercial spot is far from her first foray into controversy. Does anyone else remember the SXSW performance in 2014 when Gaga had Millie Brown fake vomit on stage? If you didn't catch it, that's the gist — but not the controversy. Demi Lovato, upon seeing the performance, took to Twitter to let Gaga know that they didn't approve. 

"Sad... As if we didn't have enough people glamorizing [eating] disorders already," Lovato tweeted. "Bottom line, it's not 'cool' or 'artsy' at all." Yet to self-titled "vomit artist" Brown, it wasn't about that; it was about making art, though she doesn't fault anyone for thinking otherwise. "I've seen a lot of positive and negative reactions to my work," Brown told Elle. "I think they're both equally as important because it's causing people to really think about what art and freedom of expression means."

While Gaga has had several controversies in her career, none have quite touched on the subject that her Nurtec migraine medication commercial does. That's because this is the first time there has been a lot of talk about selling out, whereas the other dust-ups were about her art itself. 

Fans weren't feeling her migraine ad

On June 13, 2023, Lady Gaga posted an image carousel on her Instagram. It showed her advertising Nurtec, a migraine medication. Starting with "Ever since childhood, I've dealt with migraine pain," the "Bad Romance" singer candidly endorsed the drug, expressing her wish to have discovered it earlier and announcing her partnership with Nurtec ODT. Interestingly, this endorsement came just three months after Nurtec was recalled for failure to childproof their packaging.

In addition to the social media ad, Gaga is also included in a TV commercial for the company. Yet, despite the TV spot and her Instagram ad (including her testimonial), fans were still livid. Influencer Oli London commented under the carousel, "Is taking that Pfizer money really worth it?" While another user dubbed the promo a disappointment, and a third exclaimed: "Little Monsters will remember this day forever."

Gaga's Little Monsters may have been referring to the litany of legal issues Nurtec's parent company, Pfizer, has faced through the years. The pharmaceutical giant has faced allegations of profiting off of life-saving medication in the AIDS crisis – and then doing the same during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the thousands of comments, very few supported the singer, save for a few who mentioned she may use the medication for a serious medical condition she lives with.

Her non response had fans frustrated

The day after she posted her Nurtec ad on Instagram to a wildfire of backlash from fans, Lady Gaga posted an Instagram reel. Fans thought perhaps she would address the controversy or apologize for it, but she glanced right over it. She captioned the odd video, "Feeling super inspired, grateful, and have a lot of love in my heart,| but the fans weren't having it. 

A commenter, alluding to her 2022 "The Chromatica Ball" tour, quipped, "She organized a whole world tour in order to record an advertisement for a migraine drug, this is certainly powerful. She once again showed herself as an innovator." This jest was sparked by the fact that the TV spot and carousel images Gaga shared were from her 2022 tour. Other fans speculated that her PR team had advised her to use social media as a distraction from the controversy.

Another commenter wrote that they would forgive her the migraine medication snafu if she were inspired to write more new music. It seems, based on more recent Instagram comments, that the uproar has died down for now. However, we suspect there won't be more medication endorsements from Gaga after the fallout from the first one.