If you will excuse my rather frank opening, there appears to be an unfortunate spate of celebrity musicians who just can’t help but stuff items into their pants. At a recent concert in Newark, New Jersey, Justin Bieber sequestered a fan’s cell phone, in truly unorthodox fashion, by placing it into his pants (or whatever he keeps down there).
This trend was followed, thereafter, by Jared Hasselhoff, a bass player for the Bloodhound Gang. During a concert in Odessa, Ukraine, Jared is filmed desecrating the Russian flag by shoving it into his underpants. Leading up to the main “pants event”, the U.S. rocker shouted “Don’t tell Putin”, as rounds of cheering and rapturous applause sounded from suitably amused fans. He then subsequently extracted the flag from the back of his pants; hardly the pièce de résistance that the crowds may have been expecting.
Unfortunately for Jared and co., it would appear that Putin does know, as the Culture Minister for Russia took decisive action. Vladimir Medinsky poured scorn over the public display, referring to the band as “idiots”, before claiming that they would be “packing their suitcases”. The Bloodhound Gang’s tour had been due to attend the Kubana music festival in Krasnodar, on the Friday. However, in light of the band’s ungainly antics, these plans were quickly amended and their performance billing was abruptly rescinded.
Compelled to draw the world’s attention to the matter, Medinsky took to Twitter to demonstrate the fruits of his labor, “I spoke to the Krasnodar region authorities. Bloodhound Gang is packing their suitcases.” Medinsky continued, “These idiots will not perform in Kuban”.
After colluding with Medinsky, the festival organizer, Ilya Ostrovsky had this to say, “We’re here to make friends or listen to music. We will not allow anyone to insult the inhabitants of any country.”
Quite astonishingly, the matter didn’t end there, as local media outlets reported that Hasselhoff had been interviewed by police officials over the matter; this was later confirmed by the Russian Interior Ministry. The head of Russia’s Investigations Committee, Vladamir Markin, made his intentions clear, under the circumstances that prosecutors thought there was a case to be put forward, stating he would charge “all those involved”. Meanwhile, Deputy Head of United Russia in the Duna, Nikolai Bulayev agreed with these sentiments, “If there is a chance to prosecute this group, then Bloodhound Gang absolutely must be punished.”
The situation degenerated even further, as the music group attempted to board a flight out of Anapa airport. A sketchy Youtube recording alleges to show the moment when Russian activists ambushed and assaulted the band members. The perpetrators, all dressed in Cossack clothing, with whips at the ready, were seen attacking the members and then stamping on the United States flag. As of yet, the assailants have yet to be detained. Incidentally, it is also unclear as to whether the Russian authorities intend to reprimand those responsible for desecrating the American flag.
Some would find both Justin Bieber and Jared Hasselhoff’s latest stunts undignified and improper, without question. And, then again, some might regard these austere steps, to correct for such behavior, as a touch excessive.
Putting things into perspective, the Bloodhound Gang is well-known for pushing its lyrical undercurrents to extremes, producing the songs “A Lap Dance is So Much Better When the Stripper is Crying”, “Kiss Me Where I Smell Funny” and “I wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks”. Common sense dictates, the many fans attending the event would be well aware of the bands reputation? Going further, could this not be contended as a form of censorship? If this is the case, who decides what is and is not offensive material, and what should and should not be shown to crowds?
Playing devil’s advocate, however, the etiquette surrounding the use and display of Russian flags is very strict. Russian law dictates that the Russian flag must not be desecrated. What precisely constitutes desecration, in the eyes of the Russian authorities and legal systems, however, remains uncertain. According to Vladamir Markin, an article of Russian law dictates a crime has been committed:
“Apparently, a crime defined by Article 329 of the Russian Criminal Code, the defiling of the Russian state flag, has been committed and this is a premeditated offense.”
Maybe, if the guys performed a tender rendition of “Bad Touch” to the Russian Culture Minister, he’d appreciate the irony, have a chuckle and let it slide. But, on a serious note, when travelling to foreign climes, people should perhaps be aware of both cultural and legal variations.
Remember, respect costs nothing; maybe it’s just too cheap for people to care.
Written By: James Fenner