OC melodic hardcore band STICK TO YOUR GUNS have been dropped from several European shows due to their vocalist, Jesse Barnett, allegedly voicing pro-Putin sentiments and dismissing the war in Ukraine (read our supportive features and Ukrainian artists insights HERE).
Jesse Barnett has been accused of voicing support for Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The controversy began after a Czech individual reached out to Barnett over social media, asking about why he has been silent regarding the war taking place in Ukraine: “Jesse has built an image and platform based on being anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and in support of oppressed people. I found it strange that he has shown zero support for Ukraine. So I decided to ask him why.”
“I’ve decided to make a series of shareable posts regarding Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns, his pro communist genocide apologist beliefs and the fact that he’s scheduled to play in the Czech Republic and Poland.”
The original conversation between both gentlemen has been deleted from social media.
The band has been kicked off Fajt Festival in the Czech Republic and several other shows, including the Outbreak Fest Pre-Show.
You can read some comments and learn about STICK TO YOUR GUNS fans’ perspective in this Reddit.
Jesse issued the following statement:
“Recently there have been accusations made against me that I am a Pro Putin supporter and that I am a supporter of the war in Ukraine. People have began to call me a neo-nazi and fascist. These are not claims that I take lightly. I have tried with all of my heart and soul to be a person who adds something good to this world and who is someone who leads with justice in mind.
With that being said, I know that my view points have sometimes been controversial, leading to consequences. (Being banned from venues for being pro Palestine, being banned from venues for anti religious views, not being allowed to play certain places due to my staunch anti police stance etc etc.) What’s different here is that the claims of me being a fascist, a fascist sympathizer or a genocide denier are not ones that I can just brush off. I am not a supporter of Putin or his war in Ukraine. He is not a model of anything I believe to be just or good in this world.
There is a quote I love from a poet named Warsan Shire that goes ‘No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark’. The war in Ukraine has turned many working peoples homes into the mouth of a shark. I do not support this anywhere in the world. I believe that all people have the right to live in peace. ANYONE who takes that right away from innocent people doesn’t deserve to breathe.
Now for some self criticism: I have allowed my hatred for America and the way it meddles in the affairs of countries across the globe to cloud my judgement when it comes to how I engage with people online. I am so passionately against America’s abhorrent treatment of human beings both in the U.S. and abroad that I made myself, in many times, unable to be reasoned with. This is something I have reflected on.
I can sometimes engage with people online in a way that is so unrecognizable to my friends, peers and family who truly know me and because of this I misrepresent myself and who I am. I think that I can get so caught up in telling myself ‘the internet isn’t real’ that I forget there are real people behind the accounts. To put it plainly, that shit straight up sucks of me.
The internet is a miserable place to try to have these massive and important discussions in any sort of meaningful way and more often than not, it has lead me to become overly aggressive and dismissive of people where I lash out and say things I sometimes don’t mean. Moving forward I will do my absolute best to better represent myself and the values that I genuinely hold true.”