BERGEN, Norway (CelebrityAccess) — Norwegian Metal Band Taake has canceled the remainder of their North American tour after 10 of the 19 venues on the run pulled out.
The band had been accused by some in the U.S., and abroad of being sympathetic to white nationalists. Last month, U.S. rapper Talib Kweli announced that he was boycotting a performance at the Riot Room in Kansas City after he learned that the venue had also booked a show by Taake.
The allegations against Taake date to 2007, when Hoest (real name Ørjan Stedjeberg) appeared on stage in Germany with a swastika painted on his chest. The band has also been subjected to criticism for lyrics to some of their songs, which disparaged practitioners of the Islamic faith.
The band has denied harboring white supremacist leanings and maintained that their use of Nazi symbols in performances had been merely for shock value and not a sign of their political views. They also noted, when facing criticism about lyrics that seemed to target Islam, that they hold Christianity in similar contempt.
Since the news broke that Taake was canceling their full tour, the band posted a lengthy statement addressing the issue on their social media. In the interest of fairness, we're reprinting their statement in full:
It is with great regret that we have to inform you that Taake's US Tour has been canceled. Despite all those incredible people who stepped up and tried to help us save the tour, and to whom we are more grateful than we can express, time and logistics are just not on our side. It was not our wish to cancel, but the decision was forced on us by the illegal activities of Antifa and its supporters who applied pressure on venues and promoters to cancel shows. Pressure, it has to be said, that has frequently been accompanied with threats of violence both towards those involved in the organization and towards any fans attending (not to mention the bands who would be playing). Why these threats are not reported to the police, we don't know.
We have explained on many, many occasions, the history behind what caused the problems, and there are plenty of articles in the unbiased press and on social media where you can read the truth of it, but just for the sake of clarity Taake is not now, has never been, and never will be a Nazi band. What we want to address here is the cancellation of the tour itself.
This cancellation is unfortunate in many ways, not just for the bands who were going to take part. Not just for the ordinary working Americans with families to support and bills to pay who have lost much-needed income because of it. Not just for the fans who wanted to see the bands. Not just for music fans in general. But, also, and more importantly, for America as a whole.
Why? Because it is the ultimate demonstration of how, through the dissemination of lies, misinformation and unfounded accusations, along with credible threats of violence, a small minority of left-wing agitators are able to force their agenda on the majority, and deprive music fans of their freedom to attend concerts and go about their day to day activities without the fear of reprisals and retaliation.
And these agitators won't stop once they have destroyed the soft targets from Europe and other parts of the world. Their next targets will be American music, American art, American literature, American theatre, American cinema. Anything, in fact, that does not adhere strictly to their views. And if this reminds you of the McCarthy witch hunts, it is because that is EXACTLY what it is like.
Whilst none of us blame venues for canceling because they are afraid of violence, we do deplore the excuses presented by some of them. The desire to "protect" their audience and staff, to create "safe spaces" is not a need brought about by the bands involved, nor their fans. It is the masked thugs hiding behind the banner of Antifa and other organizations like them, who are doing all the threatening. And maybe we should also remind these venues that so many of the musical genres today exist due to those other small venues back in the day who dared stand up to threats and gave a voice to those musicians who brought us Blues and Jazz – the basis of so much of today's music.
We would also like to speak out about celebrities like Talib Kweli, who was unfortunate enough to have allowed himself to be played by the lies spread by Antifa and who, as a result, issued statements that are libelous and slanderous. His heart may have misguidedly been in the right place, but his brain, and his legal advisors were not. Had he bothered to check the facts he would have realized that he had put himself in a position of looking like someone who doesn't know, or understand, or even care about, all the facts, and who is easily manipulated by others to dance to their tune.
We should also mention those members of the press who failed to fact check and did not bother to contact us, or anyone else for that matter, for our side of the story. They simply went right ahead and printed libelous statements. This is irresponsible journalism at its worst, and we can't just single out inexperienced editors of webzines. Complicit in this are long-established and (once) respected publications. Their actions show the utter contempt they have for facts and the disrespect they have for their readers.
Ending on a positive note, we really do need thank those who stood by us, and especially the venues who refused to be cowed, and those that stepped in offering us alternatives for cancelled shows. We have had messages from all over the world, and from people of all political and religious persuasions, offering not just their support, but also offering their help. And these are not just our fans. We have been contacted by people who admit that they had never heard of us, or that they hate black metal, or that they hate Taake, but have nevertheless felt compelled to let us know of the disgust they feel at the way Antifa, and their like, demand slavish adherence to their agenda, and punish anyone who defies them, riding roughshod over the freedoms of the American people to decide for themselves.
You, my friends, do not need to apologize for the lies and actions of a fringe group. You are the majority, you are the ones who refuse to bow your heads to those who would dictate how you live your lives, and who attempt to restrict your freedoms – you are the ones who can do something about it.