Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has accused Frankfurt of “bullying” and is threatening to sue the German city for cancelling his upcoming concert over concerns about antisemitism and statements in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Roger Waters released a statement in London saying: “Politicians have no right to intimidate and bully artists and their fans with performance bans.”
“I fight for all of our human rights, including the right to free speech. We are on the road to Frankfurt. Frankfurt, here we come!” the singer and bassist added.
Waters published the statement after receiving a confirmation letter from the Frankfurt promoter that told him his scheduled May 28 concert had been canceled by the city, according to the Algemeiner. It was to take place at Frankfurt’s Festhalle.
Frankfurt’s city council reportedly stopped the concert from going ahead in late February, citing Waters’ status as "one of the world's most well-known antisemites" as the reason for the cancellation.
In the statement of the city council that announced the cancellation, it was noted that the Festhalle location was also used for the detention of 3,000 Jewish men who were arrested after Kristallnacht, between November 9-10, 1938, in which Nazis attacked Jews and destroyed their property. The men were abused and later deported to concentration camps.
The council also condemned Waters for his support of the BDS campaign that calls for boycotting Israel and for the pressure he exerted on other artists not to perform in Israel.
Waters has in the past compared Israel to Nazi Germany and released a giant balloon pig bearing the Star of David during a concert in Belgium. Concert-goers said the Jewish star was among several symbols representing various corporations and fascist movements.
He has also called Zionism an “ugly stain” that must be removed.
Earlier in the month, Waters threatened to take legal action against cities in Germany who have attempted to cancel his concerts, accusing the outspoken BDS supporter of antisemitism.
Waters responded to the potential cancellation of his German tour dates by claiming it was an “unjustifiable” assault on his free speech, according to NME.
“Mr. Waters has instructed his lawyers to immediately take all necessary steps to overturn this unjustifiable decision,” said a statement from Mark Fenwick Management, who manages the musician.
“[This is] 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.”
The statement called the actions to cancel his concerts “unconstitutional” and “without justification.”
It also said that the decisions were “based upon the false accusation that Roger Waters is antisemitic, which he is not.” It added that the moves by the German cities were an attempt to “silence” Waters and could have “serious, far-reaching consequences for artists and activists all over the world.”
Waters has hired the Höcker law to represent him against concert cancellations in Germany. The firm’s partner Ralf Höcker told The Guardian that they would be filing injunctions against the city councils if they ordered venues or promoters to cancel the concerts.
Last week, Munich lawmakers announced that they had failed to cancel a Waters performance in the Germany city on May 21, DPA reported.
City officials said that after investigating the issue, the concert could not be stopped for legal reasons. The city explained they weren’t able to cancel the contract.