The tragic death of Lady Gaga’s rival, Lina Morgana

When it comes to the avant-garde in pop music, the name “Lady Gaga” is more or less synonymous with experimental, virtuosic, game-changing work within the industry. Whether it’s her thing for meat dresses, egg hatching on the red carpet, or surprise drag cameos, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning maverick has dominated the genre since the release of her debut album, The Fame, in 2008. Considering her penchant for the uncanny and unexpected, it’s almost par for the course that Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta) has also been the subject of at least one conspiracy theory — one that, unfortunately, was born from a real-life tragedy. 

The subject of this supposed conspiracy was singer and performer Lina Morgana. What’s Lady Gaga’s connection to her, and was Morgana truly her “rival?” Could it be true that the trajectory of Mother Monster’s career was entirely predicated upon Morgana’s sudden, untimely death? Buckle your seatbelts, because we’re about to embark on a truly wild ride.

Did Lady Gaga steal labelmate Lina Morgana's act?

Before we start to unravel the strange conspiracy theory concerning Lady Gaga, let’s get into the story behind it. According to a 2019 write-up by the Mirror, the facts are these: In the late aughts, both Lady Gaga (then Stefani Germanotta) and fellow musician Lina Morgana were both signed by Grammy award-winning producer Rob Fusari. Both performers were purportedly acquainted with each other by proxy of sharing the same producer, and Gaga allegedly sang back-up vocals on what would have been Morgana’s debut album with Fusari — a track Gaga either wrote or contributed lyrics to.

This story took a tragic turn in 2008, when Morgana reportedly died after falling from the roof of the Staten Island Hotel in New York. According to The Outline, there is still some debate about whether her death was accidental or whether the singer completed suicide, but another outcome from the death remains certain: Gaga’s tenuous connections to Morgana fueled a powerful conspiracy theory.

Lina Morgana's death fueled wild claims about Lady Gaga

As The Outline reported in 2017, denizens of online followers first caught wind of the connection between Lady Gaga and the late Lina Morgana shortly after Morgana’s death in 2008 — only a year after Gaga was signed to Interscope and began production for her debut album, The Fame. Morgana’s story began to circulate after an episode of the now-canceled Biography Channel series Celebrity Ghost Stories aired following her death in 2008. In the episode, Morgana played a young version of actress Gina Gershon in reenactments of an alleged ghostly encounter Gershon experienced. 

In addition to the acting credit, the New York State Law Reporting Bureau published a document in 2011 pertaining to a lawsuit between Morgana’s estate and the Staten Island Hotel where she died.

The potential connections between Gaga and Morgana began to spiral as sleuths from every corner of the internet began to contribute to a now-defunct forum focused on a possible Gaga connection to Morgana’s tragic death. Mainstream media eventually picked up the story too. A 2010 New York Post article (via Gothamist) brought one factor of the conspiracy’s narrative to attention — that Lady Gaga’s persona and musical style was directly stolen from Morgana — a claim which was supported by Morgana’s own mother, Yana Morgana.

Lady Gaga was accused of 'holding' Lina Morgana's soul

Claiming that pop star Lady Gaga was “holding Lina’s soul,” Yana Morgana contended in a 2010 interview with the New York Post (via Gothamist) that Gaga lifted parts of her daughter’s biography for her own work. “[Lady Gaga] talks about having a dark and tragic life, but she had everything she wanted in the world,” Yana said. “She went to [the same] high school as Nicky Hilton, her parents were rich. But Lina did have a tough life, and she often talked about her tragic life.” 

Are these accusations true? While information on Lina Morgana is somewhat sparse, an official website for the late singer is, as of this writing, still maintained, albeit as a posthumous tribute, with links to her songs and professional promo photos. While we can’t say there isn’t any similarity to Morgana’s music and Gaga’s, we also can’t say there specifically is a similarity; the same goes for Morgana’s photographs, among include a picture of the up-and-coming pop star donning a spiky bright red wig.

There appears to be no clear evidence on a surface level that Gaga might have taken cues from Lina as she was developing her stage persona. As far as we can tell, it’s all speculation at best. However, that’s not the end of the theories involving Lady Gaga and the death of her contemporary, Lina Morgana. In fact, the stories only get darker from here.

Could Lady Gaga have been involved in a murder?

As The Outline noted in 2017, the conspiracy theory about Lady Gaga’s alleged connection to Lina Morgana’s death took a monstrous turn in part, due to a 2013 post in an online forum. That controversial post contends that Gaga allegedly pushed Morgana off the roof of the Staten Island Hotel in 2008, and it also postulates that Gaga might have ties to the Illuminati, MK-Ultra, and the occult — standard fare for anyone vaguely familiar with the warped world of online conspiracy theories — but is there any truth to that tale?

As the Mirror noted in 2019, the answer is almost certainly no — a number of online followers have pointed out that Lady Gaga was reportedly on the other side of the country working on the music video for her hit single “Poker Face” on the date Morgana died in 2008. 

Internet conspiracy theories: gotta love ’em!

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