BMG Separates With Roger Waters Because of Controversial Comments About Israel
Roger Waters in an interview with John Hass - The Global Consortium for Sustainable Peace / Youtube
In recent developments, former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters has separated from BMG, the record label he entered into an agreement with in 2016 for a publishing arrangement. The decision not to release Waters’ latest version of Pink Floyd’s iconic album, The Dark Side of the Moon, through BMG reportedly came after the appointment of Thomas Coesfeld as CEO on July 1st, 2023.
No Stranger to Controversy
Waters, no stranger to controversy, had his concert in Frankfurt canceled last year due to allegations of antisemitism, which he vehemently denies. In a podcast appearance on Glenn Greenwald’s show in November, Waters claimed he was “fired” from BMG. The musician’s comments about a Hamas terrorist attack on an Israeli music festival in October 2023 also stirred further controversy:
“What we do know is, whether it was a false flag operation or not, or whatever, or whatever happened, and whatever story we’re going to get to — and we don’t know if we’re ever going to get much of the real story. It’s very, it’s always hard to tell what actually happened.”
Waters addressed accusations of antisemitism during a Birmingham appearance last year, expressing frustration:
“They’re trying to cancel me like they cancelled Jeremy Corbyn and Julian Assange. I will not be cancelled.”
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The Campaign Against Antisemitism Documentary
In September, the Campaign Against Antisemitism released a documentary titled The Dark Side of Roger Waters, accusing the musician of antisemitic conduct. The film includes claims by former Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin, who alleged that Waters referred to the band’s manager, Bryan Morrison, using a derogatory term. Saxophonist Norbert Stachel accused Waters of refusing to eat certain food and mocking his Jewish ancestors.
In response to these accusations, Waters firmly denied any antisemitic intent:
“I am not, and have never been, an antisemite – as anyone who really knows me will testify. I know the Jewish people to be a diverse, interesting, and complicated bunch, just like the rest of humanity. Many are allies in the fight for equality and justice, in Israel, Palestine and around the world.”
The separation between Roger Waters and BMG adds another chapter to the ongoing controversy surrounding the musician’s comments and the allegations made against him. As the music industry continues to grapple with the intersection of art, personal beliefs, and societal expectations, the incident prompts reflection on the delicate balance between artistic expression and the consequences of controversial statements.
As Roger Waters steps away from his publishing arrangement with BMG, the world awaits to see how this development will impact his future musical endeavors. Whatever the outcome, it is undeniable that the separation is yet another chapter in the ongoing narrative surrounding Waters’ controversial remarks and the debate surrounding freedom of expression in the world of music.