Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd member, has recently been embroiled in a controversy over accusations of antisemitism due to his criticism of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. As a result, several concerts have been canceled, including one in Frankfurt, where the city council holds a 60% stake in the rights to the festival. However, Waters has now emerged victorious in his legal battle against the Frankfurt city council.
The cancelations sparked a wave of support for Waters, with comedian Katie Halper initiating a petition to reverse the decision. Halper’s petition defended Waters, explaining that his criticism targeted the Israeli government, not the people, and called for a reversal of the decision to cancel his concerts. She also urged governments and officials to engage with the issues highlighted by Waters’ music rather than silencing it.
High-profile musicians such as Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Eric Clapton, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel signed the petition in support of Waters. In response to the cancelations, Waters took to Twitter, expressing his determination to perform in Frankfurt on May 28 and emphasizing the importance of human rights and freedom of speech.
The legal battle has since ended in Waters’ favor, with Frankfurt’s administrative court overturning the city council’s decision to cancel the show at the Festhalle concert hall. The court acknowledged the ‘tasteless‘ nature of the show’s symbolism, which drew on National Socialist imagery but upheld artistic freedom as a reason for allowing the concert to proceed.
It also ruled that Waters’ show did not glorify or relativize Nazi crimes or identify with Nazi ideology. Despite Waters’ victory, the court’s ruling has been condemned by the International Auschwitz Committee and the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Frankfurt City Council still retains the right to appeal the decision.
In the end, Roger Waters has won the battle to perform in Frankfurt, demonstrating the power of artistic freedom and the importance of open dialogue on contentious issues. So, he will now be allowed to play a show there.