CIJA letters on Nazi imagery at Osheaga music festival

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CIJA
|August 02, 2022
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On July 30, concerned individuals alerted CIJA to the fact that British rapper Slowthai performed at Osheaga music festival's Chevrolet Valley Stage wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a large red swastika. In response, we wrote to both Slowthai and the festival's organizer, Evenko’s Nick Farkas, to express our concerns and call for a review of how this was allowed to happen.

Both Osheaga music festival and Slowthai have issued apologies: https://twitter.com/slowthai/status/1554156988849967106?fbclid=IwAR0yUsGy9IIgoUHshDyETbVWBvInb1PSN3Ww7TCSHy4xMEedwQtW3aX0-D0

Nazi imagery is not a fashion statement. It should not be used as a stunt for attention or as a vehicle for publicity.

 

Read our letters here:

 

Monday, August 1st, 2022  

Nick Farkas 

Vice President of Concerts and Events 

Evenko 

1275 St-Antoine W., level 7 

Montreal, Qc, H3C 5L2 

 

Dear Mr. Farkas, 

We have been alerted by concerned individuals that a performer was allowed to play at Osheaga’s Chevrolet Valley Stage on Saturday while sporting a t-shirt emblazoned with a large red swastika. Hateful symbols should never be put centre-stage, and this must be called out. 

We have written to Tyron Frampton, also known as Slowthai, separately to express our concern. However, as organizers of the event, we believe you have a role to play in making sure such hateful symbolism is not given a platform on your stages again.  

Osheaga showcases some of what’s best about our city: its openness and the importance its cultural scene. What it is not, is a safe space for heinous symbols and ideas. We must be clear: Nazi imagery is not a fashion statement, and it is never appropriate to wear it. 

The swastika remains the ultimate antisemitic emblem, and a symbol of hate for Jews everywhere. It is forever associated with the Holocaust, the planned eradication of the Jewish people. It shouldn’t be used as a stunt for attention or a vehicle for publicity. And it should never have been allowed on stage. 

We are thankful that you and your team denounced this incident. But we must ask that you commit to understanding how this happened and ensuring it doesn’t happen in your events again. 

We thank you for the consideration you will give this letter, and hope to hear from you soon. 

 

Regards, 

 

Eta Yudin 
Vice-présidente Québec 


Monday August 1st, 2022  

Tyron Frampton, a.k.a. Slowthai 

Musician

Dear Mr. Frampton, 

 

We have been alerted by concerned individuals about your decision to sport a t-shirt emblazoned with a large red swastika on stage, on July 30, 2022, at Montreal’s Osheaga music festival. 

We feel the need to share our concern with you, and explain why this was inappropriate. We have also contacted the festival’s organizers, asking them to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  

We are aware of the t-shirt’s history, and want to believe your intent was to call-out fascism, rather than promote it. To paraphrase you in a 2019 GQ interview, the meaning you intended does not matter if it is perceived entirely differently by those who see it. 

The swastika is forever linked with the German National Socialist project to literally exterminate and erase the Jewish people. It is a symbol synonymous with antisemitism, a hatred that occupies a unique status in history with its culmination being the Holocaust. We must be clear: Nazi imagery is not a fashion statement. It should not be used as a stunt for attention or as a vehicle for publicity.

We are calling on you to do the right thing and apologize publicly for what we believe to be a lapse in judgement, and sincerely hope you will reflect upon this letter before choosing to wear this hateful shirt again on a public stage. 

We thank you for the consideration you will give this letter, and hope to hear from you soon. 

 

Regards, 

 

Eta Yudin 
Vice-présidente Québec 

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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada.