Australia: Singer received death threats after asking group to stop using songs

Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes revealed on ABC’s Q&A show on 19 September 2016 that he and his family were sent death threats after he asked anti-immigration groups to stop using his songs at their rallies because he didn’t want him or his music to be “associated with hate speech”, reported The Sydney Morning Herald on 21 September 2016.

When Reclaim Australia started, I was watching the news and suddenly there’s ‘Khe Sanh’ or ‘Working Class Man’ being played while people are marching around yelling hate. The thing that really annoyed me was they all were draped in the Australian flag, and they didn’t represent me. It didn’t represent my views, it didn’t represent the Australia I know … I just said, ‘please don’t use my songs’. Say what you like, but don’t use my songs. And you should’ve seen the mail I got … The comments I got on Facebook and Twitter were absolutely horrific. People threatening my children, you know. It was like, because I didn’t want to have my songs associated with hate speech, they said I was supporting radical Islam and I should be killed.

Barnes had made a statement on his Facebook page on 21 July 2015 stating that the groups playing his songs didn’t represent him and he doesn’t support them. The post has since received nearly 3,000 comments, consisting of comments both in favour and against the singer’s opinion.

Similar threats in Sweden
In August 2016, Swedish metal band Black Ingvars also reported receiving death threats after they pulled out of a summer festival organised by far-right, nationalist party Swedish Democrats. According to the band’s singer, Magnus Tengby, the band has had to resort to staying at “secret locations” and hiring bodyguards to stand on stage with them while they perform.

Artists in Sweden over the last few years have increasingly come under attack by far-right and extremist groups. According to the ‘Culture under threat?’ report published in April 2016 by Kulturanalys, the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy, one out of three Swedish writers and visual artists have been exposed to threats, harassment, violence or vandalism.

Photo: Screen shot from ABC’s Q&A show


» The Sydney Morning Herald – 20 September 2016:
Q&A: Jimmy Barnes was sent death threats after telling anti-immigration groups to stop using his music

» Daily Mail – 20 September 2016:
‘They said I was supporting radical Islam’: Jimmy Barnes received death threats after telling anti-Muslim groups to stop using his music

» Facebook – 21 July 2015:
Jimmy Barnes Facebook post

More from Freemuse

» 15 August 2016: Sweden: Metal band allegedly receives threats after cancelling gig

» 14 April 2016: Sweden: New report calls threat to art a threat to democracy

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