Pink Floyd's Roger Waters mocked Holocaust victims claims former bandmate
Roger Waters’ pattern of alleged anti-semitic behaviour has been laid bare by former collaborators in a new investigation.
For years, the Pink Floyd founder has refuted claims that he is an anti-semite, despite dressing in a German uniform that was described as a Nazi SS officer on stage in Berlin as recently as May.
Two former friends and colleagues of the songwriter – both of whom are Jewish – have now spoken out about concerns over Waters’ anti-Semitic stance, which has been aired in a new documentary film for Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Norbert Statchel, who played saxophone as part of Waters’ touring band, claimed he was told by another Jewish bandmate to ‘keep quiet’ and not to react to Waters’ comments if he wanted to keep his job.
When his heritage was eventually revealed to Waters, the bassist became ‘very interested’ before allegedly mocking Statchel’s relatives who died in the Holocaust.
‘Part of me still loves him, part of me is very upset with him for positions that he’s taking in the public that affect me as a Jew,’ shared Bob Ezrin, who co-produced numerous Pink Floyd albums.
‘I told him a little bit about my family background, that they’re Ashkenazi Jews and Holocaust survivors from Minsk and Poland,’ Statchel said in The Dark Side of Roger Waters.
He claimed the now 80-year-old smiled in an ‘awkward way’ at this information and asked if he had other relatives on his father’s side.
The saxophonist explained that ‘most were killed’ in the Holocaust, resulting in an uncomfortable moment with Waters attempting to impersonate a ‘Polish peasant’.
Waters said he could ‘help [Statchel] meet his dead grandmother’ and began a ‘slapstick, insulting’ imitation of an ‘old hag’.
Statchel added: ‘He knew I wouldn’t challenge him on it because I wanted his money and the gig, it was a power thing that’s all. An arrogance thing, maybe an evil thing.’
Until 2013, a pig with the slur ‘dirty k**e’ and Star of David symbols flew above concerts, with the documentary revealing emails allegedly from Waters, discussing the offensive balloon.
‘He’s a bully, Roger can be a bully, he’s been a bully forever – for as long as I’ve known him,’ shared Ezrin.
In May, the German police initiated a criminal investigation into Waters’ on-stage costume which seemingly mimicked a Nazi uniform.
The outfit, which featured crossed hammer imagery, was the same worn by the fictitious neo-Nazi organisation in the 1982 film Pink Floyd: The Wall.
Erzin, who co-produced The Wall album, claimed Waters made up and performed for him a ditty about Pink Floyd’s agent at the time Bryan Morrison, who was also Jewish.
‘The last line of the couplet was “because Morry is a f**king Jew”, it was my first inclination that there may be some antisemitism under the surface,’ revealed Ezrin.
Anti-Semitic accusations in the documentary
The Dark Side of Roger Waters accuses the former Pink Floyd bassist of numerous micro-aggressions and anti-Semitic tropes utilised throughout his career.
These are some of the accusations levied at him by his former colleagues:
- Waters once argued that Jewish people were not a race, according to Statchel, claiming they are ‘white European men that grow beards’. He added there was ‘no difference’ between Jewish culture and history and European heritage.
- Waters uses well-known anti-Semitic tropes, including comparing current issues, specifically regarding Palestine, to the actions of Nazis during the Holocaust.
- Statchel was told ‘don’t ever tell Roger’ about his Jewish heritage by another bandmate as it could ‘jeopardise his job’. In situations where Waters makes comments, ‘don’t react’ to these and don’t ‘take offence’.
- He also shared anti-Semitic conspiracies that there is a malevolent influence over Western governments coming from Israel.
- Waters allegedly refused vegetarian food in a Lebanese restaurant, telling the waiter to ‘get rid of the Jew food’.
- Waters challenged Zionism, which Ezrin claims cannot be done without criticising Jewish people.
- Regardless of intention, Waters’ actions are viewed by Jewish people as anti-Semitic and an attack on the ethnic groups.
- Emails allegedly from Waters in 2010, show him requesting for the concert pig to be ‘covered with symbols’ – including slurs, Star of Davids, and ‘follow the money’.
‘I’m embarrassed to say I was so shocked I didn’t say anything, I had no idea what was behind that.’
Waters has denied accusations that he is an anti-Semite over the years, with Ezrin explaining he doesn’t think the songwriter believes he is one.
This isn’t the first time those close to the Pink Floyd member have spoken out against him, with guitarist David Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson calling him ‘anti-Semitic to [his] rotten core.’
During one of his concerts, Waters went on a rant about Polly – whose Jewish father fled Nazi Germany – and declared it would be awful to wake up next to her.
Statchel added that he was told by someone who goes ‘way back’ with Waters that ‘Roger has very strong opinions about Jewishness or people that claim to be Jewish.’
When asked directly if he believes Waters is anti-Semitic, Statchel said: ‘I personally do after these things that I heard and all these little things that I experienced. What else would I call it?’
Ezrin said: ‘Do I consider him to be an active anti-Semite and does he believe he’s an anti-Semite? I’ll bet you dollars for doughnuts he does not and he’ll be the first person to say “I’m not anti-anything, I’m in favour of everyone”.
‘But as a person with a powerful public platform, he has a responsibility to understand that what he does affects other people.
‘He may not be one but he walks like one, he quacks like one, he swims like one, so from my point of view he’s functionally a duck.’
Metro has reached out to Roger Waters’ representatives for comment.
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