Some musicians are known to be reclusive individuals, so it might be easy to cut them a break if they make some sort of mistake in the rare times they enter the public eye.
Pete Doherty is not one of these musicians.
The former Libertines frontman spends plenty of time in the spotlight, be it onstage or in the news. His drug problems made him a veritable tabloid go-to in the U.K., so being a veritable mess in the limelight is nothing new to Doherty.
Pete Doherty has apologised for singing a Nazi-endorsed version of the German national anthem during a gig in Munich on Saturday (November 28).
Doherty’s performance at they city’s On3 Festival was reportedly cut short when he began singing a right-wing version of the German national anthem ‘Das Deutschlandlied’ that has been prohibited since the end of the Second World War.
You don’t have to be German to understand the bad blood that’s behind the verse of “Das Deutschlandied” that Doherty sang. After all, chances are if you heard this anywhere outside of Germany in the past near-century, you would understand the connotations behind the verse. So it’s a bit odd that Doherty would chose that specific verse as a way to “assimilate” or “integrate” with the crowd.
Was there nothing else he could have done to connect to a German audience? Perhaps discuss the reunification anniversary? Or chat about European Union policies? Maybe even toss in a David Hasselhoff lyric?
What might be at the very bottom of this sad affair is the excuse Doherty’s spokesperson told NME:
“He was unaware of the controversy surrounding the German national anthem and he deeply apologises if he has caused any offense,” the singer’s spokesperson continued.
“Peter himself is from Jewish descent and has fought against racism and fascism with numerous organisations including Love Music Hate Racism,” she added. “This is a subject he feels very strongly about.”
Does Doherty’s ancestry justify his mistake? Or should it question his lack of knowledge about something as important as WWII on his religious and national heritage? Shouldn’t his belief in fighting racism and fascism have set off some red light somewhere before uttering those verses?
You can check out the video of Doherty’s foreign faux pas below. (It’s at the 2:37 mark.) Not only does the guy seem to mock German culture without a care in the world, but his awkward and plain-terrible cover of Ray Charles’s “Hit The Road Jack” doesn’t exactly show an appreciation of American culture either.