Authorities have long been warning the public that tweeting can be detrimental. Don’t believe them? Just ask Maroon 5. Thanks to a misconstrued casual tweet, it looks like the band will have to cancel their China tour.
The tweet came from Jesse Carmichael, the keyboardist, rhythm guitarist, and backing vocalist of the band. The backlash began after his alleged happy birthday tweet:
“Happy Birthday America (and The Dalai Lama too) sang happy birthday to his holiness today.”
The tweet was posted on July 6, but we haven’t seen a trace of it since then, indicating that the musician realized his error and removed the offending tweet.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhist sect. The first Dalai Lama was inducted under Chinese communist rule, and the man who holds the position is one of the most revered spiritual and temporal leaders of Asian culture, particularly in China and Tibet.
In America, reverence is a long forgotten art, and Carmichael no doubt believed that he was being gracious in making that comment. It was the 14th Dalai Lama’s birthday, after all. However, those who worship under the Dalai Lama have a profound reverence for the leader that Carmichael obviously did not understand. Such an informal address of the revered leader is unheard of in China.
It’s true that China and the Dalai Lama have not had the best relationship for some time, since he is currently living in exile in India. However, the feud is mostly between the Dalai Lama and the government, but the citizens still hold the Dalai Lama in high regard.
When Chinese fans saw the tweet, it was met with heavy backlash by both fans and government, showing just how much tweeting can be detrimental, even to major celebrities like Maroon 5. One upset Weibo user wrote as follows.
“When it comes to matters of a country’s dignity and territorial claims, there can be no compromise. Musicians should stick to music and do their thing. Why bother with politics?”
Clearly, the musician did not understand the country’s culture, which stresses to celebrities everywhere the importance of understanding another culture before visiting.
After all of the negative publicity, the band has decided to cancel both their Shanghai and Beijing shows. They aren’t the only ones to make this move in recent years, either. It’s very difficult for American artists to perform in China, as evidenced by the barring of Oasis, Bjork, James Blake, and Linkin Park from performing in the country after other political stunts.
It’s not always easy to make everyone happy as an artist, but when it comes to a major concert deal with the world’s most highly populated countries, celebrities should recognize how tweeting can be detrimental. Just ask Maroon 5.
[Image via CNN]