New film probes Roger Waters’ antisemitism
New documentary

New film probes Roger Waters’ antisemitism

A 37-minute film, The Dark Side of Roger Waters, has been released by the UK-based advocacy group Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Roger Waters performs in Hamburg, Germany, in May 2023. Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP
Roger Waters performs in Hamburg, Germany, in May 2023. Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP

(Times of Israel) – Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters proposed writing an anti-Jewish slur on an inflatable pig used as a concert prop, mocked a Holocaust victim, and belittled Jewish acquaintances, a new documentary says.

The 37-minute film The Dark Side of Roger Waters, was released by the UK-based advocacy group Campaign Against Antisemitism last week.

The filmmakers interviewed Waters’ former bandmates and staffers and revealed an email that bolsters longstanding accusations of antisemitism against the rock star. Waters is a staunch supporter of the Palestinians who denies all allegations of antisemitism.

According to the 2010 email, Waters asked his crew if they could add antisemitic tropes to a a large inflatable pig that drifts over the audience at his concerts.

He said he “imagined” the pig plastered with slogans including “dirty kike,” a deeply offensive, racist term for Jewish people. He also suggested writing dollar signs, “follow the money,” “scum,” a “crescent and star,” and Stars of David on the pig, according to the film.

In 2013, Waters came under fire when he floated a pig emblazoned with a Star of David and symbols of dictatorial regimes over an audience in Belgium.

Waters also suggested “bombing” the audience with confetti shaped like swastikas, Stars of David and dollar signs, the film said.

The filmmakers interviewed Norbert Stachel, Waters’ former saxophonist, and Bob Ezrin, a renowned music producer who worked on Pink Floyd’s 1979 album, The Wall. Both Stachel and Ezrin, who are Jewish, claimed Waters referred to Jews in a derogatory or belittling manner.

In one of the alleged incidents, Stachel claimed that Waters in 2002 mocked his grandmother, who was murdered in the Holocaust.

Stachel also said Waters referred to vegetarian dishes at a meal during a tour in Lebanon in 2002 as “Jew food.”

“Take away the Jew food,” Waters said, according to Stachel.

A coworker told Stachel to not react to comments against Jews in order to keep his job, Stachel said.

During an argument between Waters and a girlfriend, Stachel said Waters denied Jews were a racial group, referring to them as “European men that grow beards.”

“They practice the religion Judaism but they’re no different than me, they have no difference in their background or their history or their culture or anything,” Waters said, according to Stachel.

Ezrin claimed that Waters once sang him an improvised tune about Waters’ then-agent Bryan Morrison, which concluded with the line, “Morri is a f***ing Jew.”

The documentary’s investigation was spearheaded by journalist John Ware, a reporter for the BBC’s Panorama program, who also probed antisemitism in the UK Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

“Roger Waters has repeatedly used his enormous platform to bait Jews, but he always claims that he is not antisemitic,” Gideon Falter, CEO of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said in a statement.“It is hard to imagine a rockstar emblazoning the N-word above their concerts, but Mr Waters demanded that his crew do exactly that with the K-word. Not only that, but he seems to have spent time humiliating and harassing his Jewish staff,” Falter said. “One cannot help but watch this film and wonder what kind of person uses their power to this effect. Is Roger Waters an antisemite? Now people can make up their own minds.”

Waters has been repeatedly accused of antisemitism by Jewish groups and authorities in the US, Europe and Israel.

He has berated performers who included the Jewish state in their tours, accused the “Jewish lobby” of holding sway over the music industry, compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and appeared onstage in a costume resembling Nazi attire.

The US State Department in June accused Waters of “Holocaust distortion” and having “a long track record of using antisemitic tropes.”

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