Alestorm are set to play Tel Aviv next month, but their appearance does not come without some controversy. As revealed via the Eye on Palestine Instagram account (seen below) and tipped by MetalSucks, the band served up a dismissive response when a Palestinian fan revealed that they wouldn’t be able to make the show due to the ongoing occupation of Palestine by Israel.
Screenshots of the conversation were shared, with the fan initially asking if the band was coming to perform in Tel Aviv soon and if tickets were available. After being told that the show would be July 5 at Reading Club, the fan explained why they would be unable to attend.
“Unfortunately I can’t attend because I’m a Palestinian living under Israeli military occupation. We can’t access the venue because of Israeli checkpoints everywhere, built illegally on our land,” stated the fan.
The person then suggested that the band’s presence would be used to help whitewash the crimes of the occupation and that while a minority will be pleased by the chance to “hang out,” many others will be let down as they continue to seek their freedom and justice.
At that point, the fan asked the band to consider withdrawing from the event, asking which side of history they wished to be part of.
In response, someone from the band’s Instagram account messaged back, “You should come to the show!.” When the fan then reiterated that they were being deprived due to the Israeli checkpoints and apartheid, the band then responded back, “Come and drink RUM!”
While the “Come and drink rum” is something you might expect normally from a pirate metal band, the response here fails to take into account the gravity of the messaging from the fan, enough so that it’s started making the rounds on social media.
“Downplaying the Palestinian suffering is unacceptable,” reads the post shared by the Eye on Palestine Instagram, adding, “We urge you to reach out to them and urge them to withdraw immediately.”
This would not be the first time a member of the band has faced controversy courtesy of a text exchange. In 2021, Alestorm’s Chris Bowes was part of a leaked group chat that included misogynistic and racist banter exchanged with members of the band Gloryhammer.
The musician later took responsibility for what was said, explaining, “Some of us in the band built a private puerile culture for ourselves of always trying to one-up each other by sending progressively more deliberately offensive messages in our chat group, always justifying our incensive [sic] language to ourselves by thinking “It’s fine, we don’t actually believe this in real life, it’s just a joke.”
He went on to stress that this was not at all a joke and committed himself to working with “professionals” to better understand the damage he has caused through use of his undeniably offensive language.