Entertainment

Roger Waters vows to take legal action after concert axed amid antisemitism claims

Pink Floyd co-founder and bassist Roger Waters has vowed to take legal action after a planned concert in Frankfurt was cancelled by officials who branded him one of the “world’s most widely spread antisemites”.

The veteran musician was scheduled to perform at the city’s Festhalle on 28 May as part of his This Is Not A Drill European tour.

However, Frankfurt city council and the Hessian state government agreed to cancel the show in a bid to “set an example against antisemitism” last month.

Waters denies being antisemitic and in a statement issued on Thursday has described the cancellation as a “blatant attempt to silence him”.

But a statement issued by Frankfurt City Council said: “The background to the cancellation is the persistent anti-Israel behaviour of the former Pink Floyd frontman, who is considered one of the most widely spread antisemites in the world.

“He repeatedly called for a cultural boycott of Israel and drew comparisons to the apartheid regime in South Africa, and put pressure on artists to cancel events in Israel.”

The decision was approved by the Magistrate of the City of Frankfurt on 24 February.

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The statement added: “The magistrate therefore feels called upon to set a clear signal against antisemitism that is supported by society as a whole.”

A spokesperson for Frankfurt City Council told Sky News that event organiser Messe Frankfurt will be instructed to terminate the contract with the concert agency, adding that “the letter of termination for this is currently being voted on”.

Four days later on 28 February, Munich City Council introduced a motion to cancel a concert scheduled for 21 May at the Munich Olympiahalle.

The motion said Waters “keeps stirring up antisemitic resentment” and also accused him of “spreading conspiracy ideologies that justify Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine“.

The 79-year-old announced on Thursday that he will take legal action over the “unjustifiable decision” in a statement issued by his management.

The statement, entitled “Roger Waters fights back”, accused the authorities of having “extraordinary and prejudicial intention” to cancel the concert.

The actions of both Frankfurt and Munich officials are “unconstitutional, without justification and based on the false accusation that Roger Waters is anti-Semitic, which he is not”, it said.

“As a result of this unilateral, politically motivated action, Mr Waters has instructed his lawyers to immediately take all necessary steps to overturn this unjustifiable decision to ensure that his fundamental human right of freedom of speech is protected and that all of those who wish to see him perform, are free to do so in Frankfurt, Munich and in any other city in any other country.

“Mr Waters believes that if this blatant attempt to silence him is left unchallenged it could have serious, far-reaching consequences for artists and activists all over the world.”

Tickets for both the Frankfurt and Munich shows are still available for sale on the Roger Waters website.

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Now a cross-party group of politicians on Cologne City Council are also demanding a show on 9 May should be cancelled, according to German newspaper, Algemeiner.

An open letter said “there must be no room for antisemitic content on our stages”.

Waters has previously condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called for a ceasefire.

However, he also said the conflict was “provoked” during an address to the UN Security Council at Moscow’s invitation.

His views on Israel and the Ukraine war have sparked criticism including from Pink Floyd vocalist and guitarist David Gilmour.

In an interview with a German newspaper, Waters said of Vladimir Putin: “According to independent voices I listen to, he governs carefully, making decisions on the grounds of a consensus in the Russian Federation government.

He added: “I wonder: is Putin a bigger gangster than Joe Biden and all those in charge of American politics since World War II? I am not so sure. Putin didn’t invade Vietnam or Iraq? Did he?”

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