As Palestinian flags waved in protest during Radiohead's festival concert Scotland on Friday, the frontman for the famed modern-rock band — under fire of late from Israel-boycotting outfits over its intention to perform in Tel Aviv on July 19 — had some things to get off his chest.
"Some f***ing people," Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke said as he stared apparently in the direction of the protesters just before the song “Myxomatosis" began. "Some f***ing people. Some f***ing people."
Here's a clip from a distance. (Content warning: Rough language):
#Radiohead fans in Glasgow at #TRSNMTfest called on the band to respect the cultural boycott of Israel in solidarit… https://t.co/xqBQErZOfz— Hil Aked (@Hil Aked)1499519478.0
About a minute into the song, Yorke gave the finger — again, apparently at the protesters — and repeated the gesture at the end of the tune.
Glasgow Palestine Action, Glasgow Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Radiohead Fans for Palestine protested outside the festival before the band’s show, Consequence of Sound reported.
It's been a trying few months for Radiohead, beginning with a big dose of public heat from Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters — a well-known supporter of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement — and others who signed an open letter in April urging the band to cancel the Tel Aviv gig.
“We’d like to ask you to think again — because by playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, UN rapporteurs say, ‘a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people,’” the letter stated.
Yorke had been quiet about the controversy until he blasted the letter, and Waters, in a Rolling Stone interview that ran in early June.
"I'll be totally honest with you: This has been extremely upsetting," Yorke told the magazine. "There's an awful lot of people who don't agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don't agree with the cultural ban at all, along with J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky and a long list of others."
More of what Yorke said to Rolling Stone:
The person who knows most about these things is [Radiohead guitarist] Jonny [Greenwood]. He has both Palestinian and Israeli friends and a wife who's an Arab Jew. All these people to stand there at a distance throwing stuff at us, waving flags, saying, "You don’t know anything about it!" Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny. And imagine how upsetting that it's been to have this out there. Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word "apartheid" around and think that's enough. It's f***ing weird. It's such an extraordinary waste of energy. Energy that could be used in a more positive way.
This is the first time I've said anything about it. Part of me wants to say nothing because anything I say cooks up a fire from embers. But at the same time, if you want me to be honest, yeah, it's really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years. They talk down to us and I just find it mind-boggling that they think they have the right to do that. It's extraordinary.
Apparently referring to Waters, Yorke added: "Thanks, Roger. I mean, we're best mates for life, but it’s like, f*** me, really?"
Radiohead is still scheduled to play the Tel Aviv show next week at Park Hayarkon, Consequence of Sound said.
Here's a closeup clip of Yorke getting profane on the mic. (Content warning: Rough language and some middle-finger waving):