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DEFEATER Fluff Fest 2012 controversy & live footage [UPDATE]

As previously reported, we all knew DEFEATER might have some problems at this years Fluff Fest in Rokycany, Czech Republic. The organizers were getting pressure to cancel the band’s appearance at the event for reasons of patriotic affiliation and message.

On July 22nd, 2012 the band performed at the big stage of the fest and got catcalled and whistled out by a bunch of punk anarchists with banners and flags saying “soldiers=/=heroes”, “oil=/=freedom” and “defeat(er) nationalism and militarism”.

Scroll down to see the videos. More coming soon.

The Fluff Fest crew has just published their conversation with DEFEATER on war veterans donations topic. E-mails go from newest to oldest, so please start reading from the bottom:

Re: from fluff fest to defeater
Datum: Wed, 14 Mar 2012 07:13:17 -0400
Od: Jake Woodruff
Komu: tomas | fluffwheels

Tomas,
Yes, as I said before- the press release wording was changed by our label/publicist after we saw it, and it was a really busy time for us with Jay getting married and Mike on tour with Make Do and Mend. Also, to clarify- the press release mentions “wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” only in relation to the NEGATIVE effects these wars have on the psychological and physical health of the people involved. I can understand how the “fight for our nations freedom” line would be problematic, and that’s one of the lines we would have rephrased. We have had time to release another statement, but since we don’t have a “Defeater” viewpoint, we were unsure how exactly to proceed with that. And we’ve been trying to clarify what we meant in interviews etc whenever the issue came up.

As far as we’re concerned, the donation was as apolitical as possible- we have different viewpoints, but there is a group of people in the united states, many of whom are our friends, who come back from a war and need a support structure so they don’t end up becoming homeless, mentally insane, or committing suicide. We wanted to help them avoid that. That’s all. I can understand how that would, on first glance, appear problematic to people who live outside of america, especially if you view helping ex-soldiers as supporting the military. But to be anti-war, yet not help people recover is, to me, inconsistent.

I hope that clarifies things a bit.
Best,
Jake

On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 7:26 AM, tomas | fluffwheels wrote:
hi jake,
i am sorry if i am not being clear enough. to be honest, i am pretty confused too. a big time. well, to make it clear and straight, the question was suppose to be: why somebody who claim not being nationalistic put together official press release saying war on iraq/afganistan is “fighting for the nation’s freedom”.

from your first email i was under the impression you are saying the whole press release was revised after you wrote it down, so it seemed like label or whoever did some changes and shaped your words. but if it was not exactly your words, didnot you have 6 months to aprove this in my opinion quite dangerous statement?
from your last email i have impression you are saying you worded it poorly and you wish it would sound less nationalistic, so seems to me like the statement in press release comes from you and now looking back at it you wish it would sound less nationalistic. but didnot you have 6 months to set it right and write a press release wich you totally agree with?

i really never wanted to be in a position of somebody judging peoples opinions, but i really feel like finding out who we are working with and to be honest from our conversation i still dont even know if the press release as it was on B9 website was written by you or not and if you think flying to a different country to fight there is a fight for nations freedom or not…

thanx for your time and explanation
tomas

Dne 7.3.2012 5:40, Jake Woodruff napsal(a):
Tomas,

I’m a little confused about what your actual question is- I already said that we as a band all agreed that the press release was worded in a way that comes off as too nationalistic, so there I agree with you. Do you have any more clarification questions about our viewpoint as a band, (even though, “as a band”, we don’t really have one)? I’m not looking to get into a political discussion- I just want to know if you have any other questions one way or another about Defeater, and whether or not we’ll be playing Fluff fest this year.

I know there have been bands who’ve played in the past with views/choices that may be offensive to some within the punk/hardcore community- and in this case, I don’t think our actual views are too far apart from yours; it seems to be an issue of the poorly-worded press release which was both a while ago and a one-time charity donation.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and/or if Defeater will or will not be playing Fluff this year. I think it’d be a lot of fun.

-Jake/Defeater

On Tue, Mar 6, 2012 at 4:19 PM, tomas | fluffwheels wrote:

hi jake,
thanx for your email and explanation. as i said i respect your help directed to war victims, but i still find very nationalistic and propagandistic when you compare this war to “fight for our nation’s freedom”, which IS written on your press release…
besides my strong aversion to any kind of nationalism, i dont get the point why somene who is trying to help to wounded ex-soldiers is promoting same propagandistic ideas which leads people into making as bad decisions as joining the war. dont you think that you as artists reaching a certain audience can easily influence people and using statements about “fighting for nations freedom” is not helping victims of war, but can make even more people to pack a backpack, grab a gun and join this stupid killing machinery?
thanx again for your time
tomas

Dne 4.3.2012 20:05, Jake Woodruff wrote:

Tomas,

Thanks for coming to us directly to clear this up. While I definitely understand that this is a pretty volatile issue, I think we’re all a little shocked with the amount of controversy this has generated and, until you approached us directly, were unsure how to go about clearing it up.

First of all, we all agree that the press release was worded pretty poorly. The whole Wounded Warrior donation was an idea we had during a really chaotic week- it was a few days before Jay got married, Mike was on tour with MDAM- that press release went through a few stages of revision AFTER it left our hands, and we all wish the wording had been much more tasteful and came off less nationalistic. The way we looked at it, it was our way to acknowledge the negative consequences of war while helping people who needed it.

More to the point- we’ve never claimed to have a unified political viewpoint within Defeater- we’re a few individuals with different (often conflicting) viewpoints about pretty much everything. The reason we all agreed on the wounded warrior project was because it’s a charity that helps people coming back from war deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. End of story. These are people who, whatever you think of the choices they made to get there, are in a bad spot and need help. There is some language on the WWP website that not all of us are comfortable with- but we figured as long as these people who need help after returning home from a horrible war are getting it, then it’s a good thing to support.

We could have chosen any number of less controversial issues to support last september (we’re hoping to do this kind of nonprofit donation regularly, but with a different charity each time)- but we had been meeting vets at shows for a year and a half or so at that point, and we’ve all had friends come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with horrific complications from PTSD- including suicide. My good friend’s older brother took his own life as a result of PTSD complications after coming home from Iraq. This makes me as anti-war as ever, and also willing to support things like wounded warrior who help people make the transition out of military life to some semblance of normalcy.

The short answer to your question is- we were just supporting people who came back messed up from war, and it happened in a way that was worded poorly and open to misunderstanding. We’re all anti-war, but also supported an effort to heal from conflict. Yes, we all think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are hopeless messes fueled by an oil-hungry and fear-inducing government- but many Americans I know share that viewpoint. And that’s not really what we were hoping to accomplish with the Wounded Warrior donation.

I hope that makes this a little clearer. Feel free to hit me up with any additional questions, I look forward to meeting in person this summer.

Best,
Jake/Defeater

2012/3/3 tomas | fluffwheels

hello,
my name is tomas and i confirmed your band to play a festival called fluff fest. lately i have been hearing a lot of rumours about defeater supporting american troops in iraq, which kind of scared me, so i started to look it up, read through the bridge nine website, etc. to find out what is really happening. we have always been very liberal when it comes to bands’ political views and maybe even wanted to book controversial bands so people can think about things from different angles, but at the same time there is a certain border we cannot cross and supporting military troops is one of the few things we simply don’t relate to…

we are strongly against any kind of patriotism/nationalism and strongly believe that war with iraq/afghanistan is a huge lie and one of the biggest tragedies that has happened this century and cannot relate to any kind of sympathy with american (later followed by international) troops in that part of the world. from what i found on your website, you financially support a project called wounded warrior, ie send money to wounded ex-soldiers coming back from the war in iraq and afghanistan, which i respect and see as a great thing to help human beings hurt in that stupid war. i really respect that somebody helps people brainwashed by their government, fed with lies about fighting for a world’s better tomorrows, tricked by the military and ending up in tragedy, killing other people or being hurt or killed. i respect that you are trying to help people whose only way of taking financial care of their families was that huge mistake to go to war. i respect that you help victims of this evil called war on iraq and war on afghanistan.

but i also see on your website the statement saying “This organization allows these heroes to successfully return to the life they left behind to fight for our nation’s freedom.” and that’s a statement i cannot live with, because i believe that this propaghanda is the reason for all the tragedy, the results of which you are trying to help. feeding people with lies about “fighting for the nation’s freedom” is in my opinion the cause of the problem and i personally could not live with the fact i am supporting this message, which, in my opinion, brainwashes people to support history’s biggest evil – military and wars.

therefore i would love to ask you to explain your stand and ideas on the american troops in iraq/afghanistan. if you as a band and/or individuals agree that war on iraq is a fight for your nation’s freedom, i am afraid we can’t take this and book you to spread your ideas on our stage…

thanx a lot for your time and looking forward to your reply
tomas

Here’s another one (embedding of the video has been disabled). And another one :)

Photo by Julien Benatar.

PUBLISHED on July 23, 2012.
UPDATED on July 27, 2012 – more videos added.

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