Story highlights

Madonna tweets images of iconic civil rights leaders to promote upcoming album

Social media explodes with negative responses

Her apology contains grammatical and spelling errors

CNN  — 

Madonna is stringing us along again and not everyone is happy about it.

Never one to stray far from provocative images, the pop star has released altered pictures of iconic figures to match the artwork for her upcoming album “Rebel Heart.”

In the cover art, Madonna’s head is wrapped in black cord.

No one said much when her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts pushed out altered visages of Jesus, Marilyn Monroe, the Grinch, Homer Simpson and the like.

But things got a bit chippy when Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley showed up on Friday, like Madonna, all wrapped in black cord.

Social media lit up, many questioning her use of the civil rights icons to promote her album.

“Is this some kind of a joke ???” Pastor Viwe Pobana said on Twitter in response to the Mandela image. This is outrageous and needs urgent intervention.”

“What ever the intended meaning is… I think poor taste!” tweeted Nelson R Ferreira.

Not all the comments were negative, but enough were that by late Friday Madonna had issued a rambling apology on her official Facebook page laced with grammatical errors and misspellings.

“I’m sorry

“I’m not comparing my self to anyone

“I’m admiring and acknowledging there Rebel Hearts

“This is niether a crime or an insult or racist!

“I also did it with Michael jaclson and frida khalo and marilyn monroe

“Am I saying I am them


“I’m saying they are Rebel Hearts too.


“I didn’t do it

“My fans did

“And I just re posted those photos

“My fans aren’t racist either

“If they put me in the same category as these other people

“Thank you. I’m very flattered and I hope one day to live up to 1 100th of what those people accomplished.” - Madonna

Following the post, comments by the hundreds peppered her official Facebook page – from detractors and defenders alike.

“Who would have thought such an icon could allow herself to cheapen her image with such juvenile social media posts and horrific grammar and spelling mistakes?” said Iain Precht .

“Blah, blah, blah, your sounding alittle defensive madonna, not like you at all,” said a post from Thomas Greifenstein Sr.

Freitas Neto said, “U dont need explaining yourself. YOU ARE MADONNA!”

And it was all pretty simple for supporter Mario Molina.

“rebel heart = activist. mlk and mandela = activsts. duh.”

Madonna responds to leak, releases songs as Christmas gift

Madonna’s new album isn’t expected to be out in its entirety until spring, but six tracks were released last month ahead of schedule after unfinished versions of her newest songs found their way onto the Internet.

Leaks have tormented Madonna in the past. In 2003, the singer’s website was defaced, and last month, every song off her “American Life” album was leaked online.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.