Roger Waters says accusations he's 'glorifying the Third Reich' are 'deeply insulting and upsetting' because his father died fighting Nazis - as Pink Floyd rocker wears SS-style uniform at O2 gig again and insists it's 'theatre'

Waters said Israel sees him as an 'existential threat' over his pro-Palestine stance 

Roger Waters today said claims that he is an anti-Semite are ‘bull***’ and ‘vicious lies’ after he was condemned for wearing a ‘Nazi-style’ trench coat on stage – including in Germany.

In a furious rebuttal, the Pink Floyd musician, 79, said he was ‘upset beyond all measure’ by the ‘deeply insulting’ accusations, which he branded an attack on him and his father – who died fighting Hitler’s Third Reich in the Second World War.

The controversial coat was first met with outcry in Berlin last month, prompting German police to launch an investigation. It was then worn again in London on Tuesday, attracting criticisms form Sir Keir Starmer and Michael Gove.

Speaking to Double Down News, the singer-songwriter said he wears the trench coat – which features a red armband emblazoned with two hammers – during his performance of The Wall, which he brands a ‘piece of theatre’ he has been doing for ‘more than 40 f***ing years.’

He goes on to brand Labour MP Christian Wakefield ‘scum’ for trying to have him ‘banned’ from gigging in Manchester, and blames Israel for the current backlash because the country sees him as an ‘existential threat’ due to his pro-Palestine views.

Roger Waters Explosive Interview Sets Record Straight đŸ”„ @rogerwaters pic.twitter.com/gmzQ7pLodu

— Double Down News (@DoubleDownNews) June 7, 2023

Roger Waters today said claims that he is an anti-Semite are 'bull***' and 'vicious lies' after he was condemned for wearing a 'Nazi-style' trench coat on stage - including in Germany

Roger Waters today said claims that he is an anti-Semite are ‘bull***’ and ‘vicious lies’ after he was condemned for wearing a ‘Nazi-style’ trench coat on stage – including in Germany

Michael Gove and Sir Keir Starmer have criticised Waters amid claims of anti-Semitism. Mr Waters is pictured at during his London concert at the O2 this week

Michael Gove and Sir Keir Starmer have criticised Waters amid claims of anti-Semitism. Mr Waters is pictured at during his London concert at the O2 this week

The Wall, released in 1982, was a film starring Bob Geldof – and written by Waters – based on the Pink Floyd album of the same name and featuring the majority of its songs.

Geldof plays a depressed musician named Pink who at one point returns to his hotel room and takes drugs, before being found unresponsive by his managers. They inject him with adrenaline so he is able to perform at his concert and in a delusionary state Pink sees himself as a dictator at a fascist rally, with his fans acting as his loyal supporters.

Waters explains: ‘When he’s the fascist leader, he’s singing all this stuff that I wrote about who they are, the forces of evil
 ”they’re waiting to take over the world
 they’re waiting to cut out the deadwood”.

‘Pink internally realises that he’s made a terrible mistake by wanting to become a powerful demagogue and rule the world, that’s why he tries himself in the trial for having become a Nazi.

‘So how you can transmogrify this work of theatre into me glorifying the Third Reich and Nazism beggars belief!’

Waters said he was just five years old when his father died fighting the Nazis in North Africa in 1944.

The vocalist said his father had initially been a communist but that after the London Blitz he ‘changed his mind’ and ‘the need to fight the Nazis trumped his pacifism.’

He added: ‘So, they’re attacking my dad, when they attack me
 not just from a personal perspective, but what an outrage that anybody for a second could even speak about cancelling me.’

Waters later asked why the backlash was happening ‘now’, before suggesting it is part of a plot by the Israeli government.

‘Well I know the answer,’ he said, ‘The Israeli government sees me as an existential threat to their secular, colonialist, racist, apartheid regime, that is why ”now”, and they have done everything that they can think of to discredit me and try and destroy my career and if possible destroy me and my family.’

Waters said he has never wanted to ‘hurt’ people with his performances. He said he immediately removed the Star of David from an inflatable pig that featured in his show after a complaint in early 2013. The pig featured symbols of all the world’s religions.

Waters said he will keep openly criticising the Israeli government ‘until the day I die’.

He said he visited Palestine in 2006 and ‘saw apartheid in action’ when he was told that a road could only be accessed by Jewish people.

It comes after Michael Gove and Sir Keir Starmer criticised  Waters amid claims of anti-Semitic scenes at his concerts.

The musician wore his controversial ‘Nazi-style’ coat again at his London concert this week, despite protests outside the O2. He also reportedly pretended to shoot the crowd with an imitation machine gun during his hit songs In The Flesh and Run Like Hell.

Waters previously claimed the elements of his performance being called into question are ‘quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms’. 

But Sir Keir yesterday said his party ‘fully condemns’ the singer for having ‘clearly espoused antisemitic views’. The Labour leader suggested that shows by the rocker should be called off in order to block him from spreading his ‘troubling’ beliefs.

Mr Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, claimed the former Pink Floyd bassist was ‘falling short’ of an expectation that those with a significant public profile ‘behave responsibly and do not abuse their platform’. 

It comes after the Board of Deputies of British Jews wrote to senior politicians warning of concerns among Jewish communities in cities where the musician is scheduled to tour.

Supporters of the Jewish community demonstrated outside The O2 Arena last night before Mr Waters performed (pictured)

Supporters of the Jewish community demonstrated outside The O2 Arena last night before Mr Waters performed (pictured)

Sir Keir (pictured) has now said his party 'fully condemns' Mr Waters for having 'clearly espoused antisemitic views'
Mr Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, (pictured) claimed the former Pink Floyd bassist was 'falling short' of an expectation that those with a significant public profile 'behave responsibly and do not abuse their platform'

Sir Keir (left) has now said his party ‘fully condemns’ Mr Waters for having ‘clearly espoused antisemitic views’. Mr Gove (right) claimed the former Pink Floyd bassist was ‘falling short’ of an expectation that those with a significant public profile ‘behave responsibly and do not abuse their platform’

Mr Waters is being investigated by German police for wearing the long black trench coat with a red armband during his recent show in Berlin.

The 79-year-old had previously ditched the coat and gun at his concerts in Frankfurt and Birmingham and ranted about people wanting him cancelled.

But at the 02 Arena in London he defiantly wore the costume, said to be reminiscent of an SS officer, even though protesters gathered outside the stadium before the show holding placards and flags.

The display prompted the Board of Deputies of British Jews to detail their concerns to the Government.

In a response, Mr Gove wrote: ‘The Government is clear that everyone has a clear and fundamental right to freedom of speech and artistic expression, so long as they remain within the boundaries set by law.

‘There is also a societal expectation placed on people with a significant public profile to behave responsibly and not abuse their platform. This is an expectation of which Roger Waters is reportedly falling short.’

Sir Keir said: ‘The Labour Party stands with the Jewish community and fully condemns Roger Waters.

‘Many people will think of Roger Waters as famous for being a member of one of the most important bands in history, but he is now more synonymous with spreading deeply troubling antisemitism and that is why I believe this show should not be allowed to go ahead.’

Footage shared on social media of Mr Waters, who is scheduled to perform in London and Manchester over the coming week, appears to show him at a recent show saying: ‘I watched Jeremy Corbyn being cancelled by the Israeli lobby. That is what happened in 2019.’

At another concert in Germany he was pictured wearing a Nazi-like costume, dressed in a long black coat with a red armband and brandishing an imitation machine gun.

Roger Waters was back wearing the controversial outfit again as he performed in London
Roger Waters was back wearing the controversial outfit again as he performed in London

He was back wearing the controversial outfit again as he performed in London

Mr Waters (pictured) reportedly pretended to shoot the crowd with an imitation machine gun during his hit songs In The Flesh and Run Like Hell

Mr Waters (pictured) reportedly pretended to shoot the crowd with an imitation machine gun during his hit songs In The Flesh and Run Like Hell

Mr Waters performs on stage at The O2 Arena

Mr Waters performs on stage at The O2 Arena

Waters told the Independent on Saturday: ‘My recent performance 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.’

He added: ‘The depiction of an unhinged facist 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.’

In a statement released several weeks ago, the Board of Deputies made it clear that Mr Waters’ performances are ‘not just concerts, but political rallies in which he gives his worldview’.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, thanked Sir Keir and Mr Gove for their responses on the issue today, saying: ‘We are extremely grateful that both Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government and Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Labour Party, have expressed their concern to us directly regarding Roger Waters and his performances.

‘I would also like to thank all regional and local politicians who have spoken out against this tour and stood with the wider Jewish community.’

Meanwhile, Labour MP Christian Wakeford has already voiced concerns over Mr Waters’ gig at the AO Arena on June 10 and said it should not go ahead.

Addressing the House of Commons, the MP for Bury South said the Star of David on a giant pig, the name of Jewish diarist Anne Frank and an ‘SS soldier’ outfit had been among features of Mr Waters’ recent show in Germany.

He suggested some of the imagery was being used to ‘insinuate that Jewish people run the world’, playing into anti-Semitic tropes.

‘The Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester has issued a statement condemning his divisive actions,’ Mr Wakeford said.

‘Will the Leader of the House agree with me that concerts like this have no place in our society and shouldn’t go ahead, and agree to a debate in Government time on the record levels in anti-Jewish hatred in this country?’

Many protested outside the 02 Arena in London ahead of a performance this week

Many protested outside the 02 Arena in London ahead of a performance this week

Protestors gathered outside the stadium before the show holding placards and flags

Protestors gathered outside the stadium before the show holding placards and flags

A demonstrator outside the O2 Arena before Roger Waters' performance on June 6

A demonstrator outside the O2 Arena before Roger Waters’ performance on June 6

Waters performed in the controversial coat at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena on May 17.  The concert also saw Third Reich style banners hung from the stage.

Germany bans displaying Nazi symbols – but the country’s laws allow exceptions for artistic or educational reasons.

Waters, who has worn the outfit at previous shows dating back several years, said his performance was clearly to show ‘opposition to fascism.’

The costume is similar to that worn in the 1982 film, The Wall, based on the Pink Floyd album of the same name.

German police are now investigating Mr Waters’ choice of costume as it ‘could be used to glorify Nazi rule.’

German police spokesman Martin Halweg said: ‘We are investigating on suspicion of incitement to public hatred because the clothing worn on stage could be used to glorify or justify Nazi rule, thereby disturbing the public peace.’

He added: ‘The clothing resembles the clothing of an SS officer.’

Waters later tweeted: ‘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
 The depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s The Wall in 1980.’

MailOnline has contacted representatives for Roger Waters for comment.

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