Roger Waters is under investigation by German police for “incitement of the people” after wearing a satirical, Nazi-style costume on stage in Berlin, Reuters reports. The outfit was based on the fictional fascist officer Pink, whom Bob Geldof played in Pink Floyd’s 1982 film The Wall, a satirical critique of a society’s descent into fascism. Though Waters’ outfit did not explicitly replicate Nazi uniforms, which are illegal in Germany, police said it was “capable of violating the dignity of the victims, as well as approving, glorifying or justifying the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime in a way that disrupts public peace.” Waters’ representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Waters, an outspoken critic of Zionism and Israel, faced political opposition to his German tour. Frankfurt’s local government attempted to ban his concert in the city, alleging that Waters’ “persistent anti-Israel behavior” amounted to antisemitism. Officials noted that some of the musician’s shows had incorporated a pig-shaped balloon adorned with the Star of David and various corporate logos. A court overturned the ban, on the basis that the performances can be “viewed as a work of art” and that Waters “did not glorify or relativize the crimes of the Nazis or identify with Nazi racist ideology.” Waters is scheduled to play in Frankfurt on Sunday, May 28.
UPDATE 5/27: On Friday evening (May 26), Waters shared the following statement on social media:
My recent performance in Berlin has attracted bad faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles.
The elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms. Attempts to portray those elements as something else are disingenuous and politically motivated. The depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in 1980.
I have spent my entire life speaking out against authoritarianism and oppression wherever I see it. When I was a child after the war, the name of Anne Frank was often spoken in our house, she becamea permanent reminder of what happens when fascism is left unchecked. My parents fought the Nazis in World War II, with my father paying the ultimate price.
Regardless of the consequences of the attacks against me, I will continue to condemn injustice and all those who perpetrate it.