A photo of Lily Allen sobbing at an awards show went viral. But it wasn't what it seemed.

This week, Britain’s music industry gathered for the prestigious Hyundai Mercury Prize awards in London.

The award honours the best of UK and Irish music – Lily Allen was short-listed for the award alongside Florence + the Machine and Noel Gallagher.

British rock band Wolf Alice took out the prize, and following the ceremony, an image of Allen appearing to be sobbing went viral alongside headlines about her missing out on the award.

Under the blue lights, the emotion on her face was tangible, a friend placing a comforting hand on her shoulder.

Then, the singer posted two tweets:

“Someone call 999 I’ve been robbed,” the 33-year-old wrote.

“I adore Wolf Alice though, and they are very deserved winner. Next time… [I’m going to] win that bitch.”


It didn’t really make sense.

Her tweets, which ordinarily would’ve be taken as a joke, sat differently in the context of the photo.

Hours later, Allen shared her thoughts on the viral image and media coverage of her ‘bursting into tears’ over not winning the award.


“1. I didn’t cry 2. It was a joke. 3. #everydaysexism,” she wrote.

While many of the comments on the tweet referenced the image of her crying, others recalled seeing her standing and clapping when Wolf Alice were announced as the winners.

“I saw a clip of you smiling and clapping when @wolfalicemusic was announced as the winner…what happened to that?” one Twitter user asked.

Another added, “Doubted very much it was you crying because you felt robbed. I saw the picture of you crying and figured it was relevant to something you were feeling at some point in the evening.”


After some Googling, we found the clip of the moment Wolf Alice’s name was read out as the winner.

As the camera pans, Allen can be seen… standing up and clapping, a huge smile on her face.

Although we might not be able to pin point the exact moment the singer was overcome with emotion on the night, and why, it’s a great example of how an image can spread around the world in seconds – entirely devoid of context.