Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters says Berlin gig controversy a ‘smear’
Waters said depictions of an ‘unhinged fascist demagogue’ have been featured in Pink Floyd concerts since 1980.
Pink Floyd’s frontman Roger Waters said he opposes “fascism” in all its forms following a furore in Germany where the rockstar’s donning of a Nazi-style uniform at a Berlin concert sparked a police investigation.
Berlin police said on Friday they were probing Waters after images of the Pink Floyd co-founder circulated on social media, showing him on stage last week at the Mercedes-Benz arena wearing a long, black coat with red armbands and firing an imitation World War II sub-machine gun.
Police are investigating the “suspicion of incitement to public hatred because the clothing worn on stage could be used to glorify or justify Nazi rule”, a police spokesman told the French news agency AFP.
When the police investigation is concluded, the case will be handed to Berlin prosecutors, police said.
Felix Klein, the German government’s commissioner on the fight against anti-Semitism, called for Waters to be held accountable. Klein said authorities need to be “vigilant” following the incident and music venues should rethink their relationship with the musician, according to a report in Germany’s Funke media group.
“Concert organisers should consider whether they want to offer conspiracy theorists a platform,” Klein was reported as saying.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account on Saturday, Waters said his Berlin concert had “attracted bad faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views”.
Waters said attempts to portray his performance as anything but anti-Fascist were “disingenuous and politically motivated”.
“The elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms,” he said.
— Roger Waters ✊ (@rogerwaters) May 26, 2023
“The depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980,” he said.
“I have spent my entire life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression where I set it… My parents fought the Nazis in World War II, with my father paying the ultimate price,” he said.
“Regardless of the consequences of the attacks against me, I will continue to condemn injustice and all those who perpetrate it.”
Water is a well-known pro-Palestinian activist who has been accused of holding anti-Jewish views. He has floated an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David at his concerts. The singer denies the anti-Semitism accusations, saying he was protesting against Israeli policies, not Jewish people.
Waters has played in several German cities in recent weeks as part of his “This Is Not A Drill” tour. But it has been hugely controversial with some city officials even trying, unsuccessfully, to ban him from performing.
At the same Berlin concert, Waters also flashed the names of several deceased people on a large screen, including that of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp.
Also named was slain Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank last year.
Abu Akleh’s family have submitted an official complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to demand justice for her death.
Waters is due to play his final German concert in the western city of Frankfurt on Sunday evening and protesters are planning to demonstrate outside the venue.
Frankfurt city authorities sought to stop the concert but a court ruled against them, citing artistic freedom.