Roger Waters' Political Remarks May Have Cost Him BMG

'Variety' reports that record company will drop Pink Floyd co-founder after comments on Israel, Ukraine
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2024 7:46 AM CST
Report: BMG to Drop Pink Floyd Co-Founder After Israel Remarks
Roger Waters performs in concert at Arena on Sept. 27, 2022, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Roger Waters is about to lose his record company. That's according to sources who tell Variety that BMG is preparing to drop the 80-year-old Pink Floyd co-founder after a series of recent incendiary remarks about Israel, Ukraine, and the United States. During a concert tour last year, Waters was the subject of a police investigation in Berlin after wearing a Nazi-style uniform on stage—a crime in Germany, per Haaretz. The Guardian notes that the Campaign Against Antisemitism conducted its own inquiry into Waters last year, with former colleagues telling the charity that Waters had made "repeated derogatory references" to Jewish people.

The CAA also dug up Waters' emails from over the years with various proposals for his concerts—from a floating pig with an antisemitic slur written on it, to "bombing" concertgoers with confetti shaped like swastikas, Stars of David, and dollar signs. As for the Russia-Ukraine war, Waters has said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was "not unprovoked"; that the purpose of the war was to stop the killing of Russians in the Donbas region; and that the United States propped up anti-Russian protests in Ukraine in 2014. Late last year, Waters complained in an interview that he'd been "fired" by BMG, and that part of the reasoning behind that was due to pressure exerted by Israel supporters on parent company Bertelsmann.

A source tells Variety that BMG doesn't concur with Waters' version of what went down. One person of note who's long gone after Waters publicly for his rhetoric: Polly Samson, wife of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmore, with whom Waters has clashed for decades. "Sadly @rogerwaters you are antisemitic to your rotten core," Samson wrote online last February. "Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense." Waters, meanwhile, has denied he's antisemitic. There's been no official comment from BMG over Waters' status in their roster. (More Roger Waters stories.)

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