Bluesfest director Peter Noble has hit out at detractors of the band Eagles of Death Metal, and defended removing attacks on them from the event’s forum page.
The band survived a terrorist attack that killed 89 people the night they were playing Paris’s Bataclan Theatre in November and returned to play again at the reopened venue last month.
They are due to perform at Bluesfest over Easter.
Following the attacks, lead singer Jesse Hughes told the media that if people in the theatre had been allowed to carry guns fewer might have died.
‘Gun control kind of doesn’t have anything to do with it, but if you want to bring it up, I’ll ask you: Did your French gun control stop a single f**king person from dying at the Bataclan?’ he said in an emotional interview with French TV channel iTélé.
‘I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life, charging headfirst into the face of death, with their firearms.’
But while supporters of gun control took to social media to attack Hughes’ views, Mr Noble said, ‘how dare we attack [the band] for their statements whilst they process this truly awful experience, that will take many years to heal?’
He told Echonetdaily that he had no qualms about removing the posts, which he described as ‘pureile’ from the Bluesfest forum page.
‘This band just endured the worst massacre ever perpetrated toward people attending an entertainment event,’ he said.
‘That they are now touring again within three months of the above occurring is a massive smack in the face against terrorism, and an important stance taken for freedom.
‘Their bravery is to be commended on every level.
‘It is obvious that the singer has been traumatised by the event, as well as, I am sure, his fellow band members. He exhibits clear signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome, and his responses may not always be rational.’
But he added it was a normal reaction to have wished someone in the theatre might have been armed.
‘I saw the interview. The bandleader said that if they had guns, they could have protected themselves inside the Bataclan Theatre. If any of us had been there, we might feel the same.
‘That certain members of the public would choose a time such as this to push their personal agendas, using these musicians to further their cause, after what they have endured, is beyond condescension.
‘Truly, that they would then contact media, when their tripe was removed from a forum, which has rules regarding behaviour, complaining their puerile posts had been removed is laughable.
‘Where is the humanity of an individual who would use these people and their current position, to advance their cause ?’ Mr Noble asked.