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Roger Waters takes legal action over axed gigs

The Pink Floyd co-founder has hit back at attempts to cancel his upcoming shows in Frankfurt and Munich over allegations of antisemitism

By James Hanley on 16 Mar 2023

Roger Waters's The Wall tour was the third most lucrative of 2012

Roger Waters

Roger Waters is taking legal action over moves to cancel his upcoming concerts in Frankfurt and Munich.

The Pink Floyd co-founder was scheduled to perform in Germany at Barclays Arena in Hamburg (7 May), Cologne’s Lanxess Arena (9 May), Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin (17-18 May), Munich’s Olympiahalle (21 May) and Festhalle Frankfurt (28 May) as part of his This Is Not a Drill tour.

However, the dates have become shrouded in controversy, with the city of Frankfurt attempting to block Waters from performing over allegations of antisemitism. The site is also of historical significance as Jewish Telegraph Agency notes that the Festhalle was the site of the deportation of 3,000 Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust, just after Kristallnacht.

A statement issued by Frankfurt City Council says: “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.”

Munich City Council is also looking to ban the 79-year-old from performing in the city, alleging that he “keeps stirring up antisemitic resentment”, as well as “spreading conspiracy ideologies that relativise and justify Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine”.

“Mr Waters has instructed his lawyers to immediately take all necessary steps to overturn this unjustifiable decision”

However, through a statement issued by his management, Waters has hit back at the “unconstitutional” course of action, which he says is “without justification, and based upon the false accusation that Roger Waters is antisemitic, which he is not”.

“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,” reads the statement.

“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.”

Last month, a cross-party group of politicians in Germany joined forces to demand the cancellation of Waters’ Cologne date due to his comments on the war in Ukraine. Two scheduled concerts by Waters at Tauron Arena in Krakow, Poland, were cancelled last year over the same issue.

Subsequently invited by Moscow to address the UN Security Council via video link last month, Waters used the platform to condemn Russia’s “illegal” invasion of Ukraine “in the strongest possible terms”, but repeated his claim that it “was not unprovoked, so I also condemn the provocateurs in the strongest possible terms”.


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