UPDATE: Roger Waters says criticism a ‘smear’ to silence him

Roger Waters on stage

Roger Waters dons Nazi SS-a-like uniform in Germany show Credit: Originaltm Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

UPDATED: Sunday, May 28, at 12:31 pm

Waters will be investigated by Berlin police over his stage attire on German tour dates, which was reported to resemble a Nazi SS uniform. The backlash against him started with his May 17, performance at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.

A Berlin police spokesperson, Martin Halweg told the Guardian: “An investigation has been opened over the costume displayed at the concerts on 17 and 18 May.”

The concerts were part of his farewell tour entitled This Is Not A Drill and had at one point been cancelled, as Jewish groups called him an antisemite in relation to his stance on Israel/Palestine. The shows were reinstated.

Roger Waters posted a statement on Twitter reading: “A statement from Roger Waters on the controversy over his Berlin concert. My recent concert in Berlin has attracted bad faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles.”

“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. Attempts to portray those elements as anything else are disingenuous and politically motivated.

“The depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980. I have spent my entire life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I see it.

“When I was a child after the war, the name of 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 in World War II, with my father paying the ultimate price.”

“Regardless of the consequences of the attacks against me, I will continue to condemn injustice and all those who perpetrate it.”

Thursday, May 298, at 1:28 pm

Outspoken former Pink Floyd singer and bassist Roger Waters began his elaborately staged concerts in an outfit resembling a Nazi SS uniform. The provocative act took place during his German shows in May 2023. 

Waters, 79, also projected pictures of Anne Frank alongside controversial figures such as George Floyd and Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Some commentators accused him of antisemitism showing holocaust victim Frank alongside Akleh, an Al Jazeera reporter often critical of Israel.

On this matter, Waters opened his show with a statement saying: “On a matter of public interest: a court in Frankfurt has ruled that I am not an antisemite. Just to be clear, I condemn antisemitism unreservedly.”

Some Jewish groups in Germany claimed that Waters is considered ‘one of the most far-reaching antisemites in the world’, attempting to cancel his shows in Germany.

Waters’ support of Palestinians in their fight against Israeli occupation has often drawn accusations of antisemitism while Waters believes he is supporting an oppressed nation, claiming to seek equal rights for people of both nations.

Israel’s representative to the UN Danny Danon said on Twitter: “At a Berlin concert @RogerWaters compared Anne Frank to Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist shot while in an active combat zone. Waters seeks to compare Israel to the Nazis. He is disgracefully one of the biggest Jew haters of our time. And he is a worse musician than David Gilmour.

On the subject of David Gilmour, Waters has previously been involved in an online Twitter spat with him and his wife, Polly Samson which wound up with the allegation: Sadly @rogerwaters you are antisemitic to your rotten core. Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense.”

The accusations of being a Putin apologist stem from Waters’ claim in an address to the UN Security that: “The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation was illegal. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Also, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was not unprovoked. Enough is enough. We demand change.”

Waters last year claimed in an interview in the New Musical Express (NME) that NATO’s advances towards the Russian border should take some blame for the Ukraine invasion.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.


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