Roger Waters Forgoes “Nazi Demagogue” Uniform In Frankfurt: “I Feel For The People Concerned About Desecrating This Place”
Roger Waters, one of the more politically outspoken musical artists in the world, has again been at the center of controversy in recent months. Back in February, the local government of Frankfurt, Germany attempted to cancel Waters’ May 28 concert in the city, calling him “one of the most widely spread anti-Semites in the world” due to his “persistent anti-Israel behavior.” Waters asserted that he’d play the show anyway.
Fast forward to last week: With the Frankfurt date looming, police in Berlin launched an investigation into the alleged use of pro-Nazi imagery in Waters’ May 17 and 18 performances there. The content in question included a uniform intended to invoke a fascist character from Pink Floyd’s The Wall and an inflatable pig prop with Third Reich imagery, which Rogers has been using at his shows for more than a decade, and which the Anti-Defamation League declared to have “no anti-Semitic intent.” The Berlin shows also outraged supporters of the Israeli government by equating Anne Frank with Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed a year ago by shots from Israeli soldiers during a shootout with Palestinian militants. Waters issued a statement about the Berlin controversy, affirming that the imagery was intended to critique fascism and describing the pushback against him as “bad faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles.”
Sunday night, the Frankfurt show finally happened. Rogers performed his show as usual, except this time he opted not to wear the “Nazi demagogue” uniform. In a five-minute speech to the audience, he explained that he left the costume out of this show in Frankfurt out of respect for those closer to the situation than he is. “I feel for the people who are concerned about desecrating the memory of this place, this, if you like, shrine to the memory of the men who were taken.”
Watch Rogers’ speech below.