PARIS, France – The frontman of the US rock group on stage in Paris when jihadists massacred 90 people a year ago Sunday, November 13, denied claims he was barred entry to the show marking the first anniversary of the killings.
Management of the Bataclan venue said they prevented two members of the Eagles of Death Metal including lead singer Jesse Hughes from entering the Sting gig on Saturday night.
"They came, I threw them out – there are things you can't forgive," the venue's co-director Jules Frutos said late Saturday, referring to remarks Hughes made during an interview in March 2016 suggesting Muslim staff at the Bataclan might have cooperated with the attackers.
The attack on the Bataclan was one of a series of assaults carried out by jihadists across Paris on November 13, 2015 in which 130 people died.
But Hughes reiterated the band manager's earlier comments that he had not tried to enter the hall at all.
"I didn't want to see the show, I just wanted to see the place (Bataclan) open. But I never actually tried to go into the show. I've never even met the dude (Frutos)... I don't know what he's talking about," he said.
The controversy, however, did not prevent Hughes on Sunday attending a ceremony in memory of the victims.
"I wouldn't imagine anyone not wanting to be here," he told reporters. "This city is a shining example of really the best possible way to react to something that's awful and evil.
"I don't think I would have gotten through it (the anniversary) if I wasn't here," he added.
Eagles of Death Metal initially enjoyed wide sympathy in the wake of the attacks.
But Hughes' provocative remarks were strongly rejected by the Bataclan which said the club's security – far from costing lives – had likely saved hundreds.
Two prominent French festivals meanwhile cancelled appearances by the band scheduled for August.
Hughes, a rare right-wing rocker and supporter of US president-elect Donald Trump, also said without evidence that Muslims had celebrated outside the hall during the siege there.
"I saw Muslims celebrating in the street during the attack. I saw it with my own eyes. In real time! How did they know what was going on? There must have been coordination," he told Taki's Magazine, a publication of Greek-born conservative commentator Taki Theodoracopulos that has faced criticism for its writings on race.
The singer apologized for his March comments later the same month, saying that his allegations were "absurd" and the result of trauma. – Rappler.com