US rockers Bloodhound Gang got their Russian gig cancelled, were ‘showered with tomatoes’ and ‘beaten’ by the locals after a YouTube clip showed the band’s bass player desecrating a Russian flag – an act considered a criminal offense in the country.
In the outrage-sparking video filmed at the July 31 concert in Odessa, Ukraine, the bass guitarist ‘Evil’ Jared Hasselhoff can be seen grabbing a Russian flag, shoving it through his underpants, and then throwing it into the crowd.
“Don’t tell Putin,” he asks before the stunt, as the audience explodes with cheering.
The Russian flag, which for some reason was hanging on stage, is then replaced by a Ukrainian one.
The band’s lead singer Jimmy Pop can then be heard saying he “disagrees” with the act, as “unfortunately Russia is better than America.”
The band later apologized and attempted to explain the bass player’s motivation, saying he was only trying to “appease their fans.”
However, the stunt has cost the rockers more than they expected, and could even result in a legal pursuit on Russia’s territory, where Bloodhound Gang was going to perform next, RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky reports.
Upon arriving in the South Russian city of Anapa for the KUBANA music festival, the band learned that their concert was called off following the furious reaction by Russia’s Minister of Culture. The minister called the band members “idiots” and said they should be “packing their suitcases.”
The band still received their money for the cancelled gig, according to Yaroshevsky.
Reports said that the minivan taking the band back into the city’s airport was pelted with eggs and tomatoes. A group of people also ‘greeted’ them with banners reading “Go home, Pigs” and “Get out of Russia.”
Several men then reportedly stormed into the VIP section of the airport and attacked band members, with one of the attackers attempting to strangle one of them with an American flag.
A shaky YouTube video titled “the Cossacks beat Americans in Anapa” claimed to show the beginning of the brawl, in which the police promptly intervened, as well some people stomping on a US flag.
But the band’s troubles did not end there, as Hasselhoff was also interrogated by the police, amid calls for his prosecution.
“What the bass guitar player did – the desecration of the national flag – is a crime in Russia, and there are serious considerations among the authorities now to launch a criminal case,” reports Yaroshevsky.
The Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax he is “ready” to deal with the case, if the Prosecution decides in favor of pursuing it.
Bloodhound Gang’s plan apparently turned to “escaping from the country” instead of performing, Yaroshevsky believes. Incidentally, the getaway route went through a transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where another American citizen Edward Snowden was recently stuck for some six weeks after the US revoked his passport.
Late on Friday, Russia’s Federal Migration Service announced that it shrank the duration of the band members’ travel visas and that they were expected to leave the country “within the next hour.” The five Americans then left hidden away from journalists.
Following the incident, the US ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, has condemned both the actions of the Bloodhound Gang and the people who tried to attack the band members.
Я нахожу поступок Bloodhound Gang отвратительным. Я также осуждаю акт насилия против них.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 4, 2013