Two French festivals have cancelled shows by the U.S. band, Eagles of Death Metal, following controversial comments frontman Jesse Hughes. The band was onstage when 90 people were massacred at Paris’s Bataclan music venue last November, one target in the series of coordinated attacks that left 150 people dead across the city.
Hughes suggested in March that security guards at the venue knew about the attacks in advance, but later apologised for his comments, calling them “absurd accusations.” The Bataclan rejected claims that staff members were tipped off, claiming the singer’s accusations were senseless and a result of trauma. Officials from the venue have added that the professionalism and courage of its security staff saved hundreds of people.
Hughes’ previous remorse at his outburst appeared to evaporate last week when he revisited his statements during an interview published in the blog, Taki’s Magazine. The interview, by the famously provocative Gavin McInnes saw a barrage of suggestive questions fired at Hughes, who had just returned from a Canadian tour. Ultimately, McInnes biases — and Hughes’ agreement with them, was more startling than the musician’s previous accusations about the security staff in Paris.
At the same time as he discussed the Bataclan attacks, McInnes — who, after parting ways with Vice, is now a frequent Fox News contributor— alleged fear of offending Muslims is a terrorist’s greatest weapon. He also claimed people would rather die than be called bigots. The tirade of leading statements and questions hurled at Hughes included accusations that the French are so concerned with racism they’re letting Muslims get away with murder.
After accusing Islam of crying wolf about Islamophobia in order to “anesthetize us and make us easier prey,” McInnes added the somewhat unnecessary and factually incorrect comment that “You never see bad guys in movies who are Arab terrorists.” (He has never seen Aladdin? Ali Baba? Or any in the long line of tedious caricatures painting Arabs as sinister sheikhs, gun-wielding thieves, or bandits with large knives and nasty grins.)
So it’s little surprise that Hughes, a pro-gun, pro-Trump, ordained minister who once referred to George Bush as his “hero” — and who is likely suffering from PTSD, was open to the suggestions of McInnes, a staunch Trump-supporter.
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McInnes: “They were in the venue early. That implies some staff were in on it.”
Hughes: “There’s no denying the terrorist were already inside, and they had to get in somehow. During the shooting I went outside and the backstage door was propped open. How did that happen?
“If they were hanging out enough to let three people go, then they knew security dudes. They knew bouncers. They knew doormen.”
McInnes: “Do you think a percentage of the security staff was Muslim?”
Hughes: “I know they were. Look, security guards backstage are notorious for being dicks. They check your ID every few minutes and nobody goes back and forth without being checked, even if you’re in the band.
“This guy didn’t care what we did. He didn’t even look at me.”
Following publication of the interview, organisers of the Rock En Seine concert in Paris and the Cabaret Vert festival in northern France issued a statement cancelling the band’s performances, claiming they are in total disagreement with the singer’s statements.
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