Eagles of Death Metal survived the horrific November 2015 massacre at the Bataclan during the Paris terror attacks. But now they are personae non gratae in parts of France.
The rock festivals Rock en Seine and Le Festival Cabaret Vert have canceled the Coachella Valley-based band’s upcoming appearances because of outspoken frontman Jesse Hughes’ comments on Muslims and the Paris attacks.
“Being in total disagreement with Jesse Hughes’ recent allegations given in an [interview] with an American media, both Cabaret Vert & Rock en Seine festivals have decided to cancel the band’s performance,” the festivals announced Friday on their respective websites. “We thank you for your understanding.”
EODM were scheduled to play Cabaret Vert, an outdoor fest in northern French town Charleville-Mézières, on Aug. 25, before heading south to play the riverfront Rock en Seine—just west of Paris—just days later.
In an interview published last week on alt-right digital magazine Taki's, Hughes railed against Muslims and suggested a politically correct “liberal mentality” toward religious tolerance led to the bloodshed.
He alleged a larger conspiracy among French Muslims, telling the magazine, “I saw Muslims celebrating in the street during the attack. I saw it with my own eyes. In real time! How did they know what was going on? There must have been coordination.”
Hughes also reiterated controversial claims he made in March when he told Fox Business Network host Kennedy that he believes Bataclan security guards may have been aware of the terror plot in advance. Asked in the Taki’s interview about the allegations—for which he previously apologized—the musician doubled down by noting many of the security guards were Muslim; that the backstage door was propped open during the attack; and that, he believes, the attackers cased the venue earlier in the day with help from staff.
Months ago, however, Hughes stopped himself short of outright declaring a conspiracy among security personnel: “Out of respect for the police still investigating, I won’t make a definite statement, but I’ll say that it seems like they had a reason not to show up.”
After substantial public outcry, Hughes then issued a contrite apology: “I humbly beg forgiveness from the people of France, the staff and security of the Bataclan, my fans, family, friends and anyone else hurt or offended by the absurd accusations I made. My suggestions that anyone affiliated with the Bataclan played a role in the events of November 13 are unfounded and baseless—and I take full responsibility for them. They do not reflect opinions of my bandmates or anyone associated with Eagles of Death Metal. The shame is 100% mine.”
The gun-toting wildman rocker suggested his ill-conceived words came from a place of trauma. “I’ve been dealing with non-stop nightmares and struggling through therapy to make sense of this tragedy and insanity. I haven’t been myself since November 13,” he wrote. “I realize there’s no excuse for my words, but for what it’s worth: I am sincerely sorry for having hurt, disrespected or accused anyone.”
He has yet to comment on this latest set of controversial remarks.
A month before Hughes spouted his conspiracy theory, his band made a triumphant return to Paris with a lengthy set at the Olympia concert hall, just two miles west of the Bataclan. Tears were shed, moments of silence were held, and asses were rocked.
Nevertheless, it seems, his good will with the French rock community has run out.