Roger Waters, founding member of Pink Floyd, speaks out after receiving backlash – and being investigated by German police – for wearing a costume that resembled a Nazi uniform at two recent concerts in Berlin .
The musician, who is currently on his ‘This Is Not A Drill’ farewell tour, has denounced the “bad faith attacks” that have been launched against him by those who aim to “smear me and silence me because they do not agree with my political opinions and my moral principles”. in a statement posted Friday on social media.
“The elements of my performance that have been questioned are very clearly a statement of opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms,” he wrote. “Attempts to portray these elements as something else are dishonest and politically motivated.”
Waters donned the costume and fired a dummy machine gun into the crowd while performing Pink Floyd’s 1979 song “In the Flesh,” which revolves around a rock star who sees himself as a fascist dictator. As the New York Times notes, the names of Anne Frank and Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed last year, were displayed on screen during the event. The concert has since triggered a criminal investigation by Berlin police “for committing the crime of incitement to hatred”, according to CNN.
In his statement, Waters, who has worn the satirical outfit for decades, said “the portrayal of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980.” Fans also pointed out that similar outfits featured in the band’s 1982 film. Pink Floyd The Wall.
“I spent my whole life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I saw it,” Waters said. “When I was a child after the war, the name Anne Frank was often spoken in our house, she became a permanent reminder of what happens when fascism is left unchecked. My parents fought the Nazis for World War II, my father paying the ultimate price.”
He concluded: “Whatever the consequences of the attacks on me, I will continue to condemn justice and all who commit it.”
Rick Kern/Getty Roger Waters
Waters is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (“BDS”) movement, which calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israel, and has sparked controversy over his remarks about the country over the years. He has repeatedly denied being an anti-Semite.
Yet his concert in Frankfurt was nearly canceled earlier this year due to allegations of anti-Semitism. He is still scheduled to perform the show on May 28, according to his website.