Jared Leto paid tribute to Chester Bennington at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, but it didn’t go off without a hitch. While the Oscar-winning Thirty Seconds to Mars singer offered a beautiful eulogy for his late friend who passed away last month, not all of the audience members were engaged as Leto asked the crowd to stand up. In addition, a musical tribute to Chester Bennington was cut short as an MTV commercial break cut into a taped performance by the late Linkin Park frontman.
In an emotional speech at the VMAs, Jared Leto remembered his longtime friend, Chester Bennington, as well as late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. The late singers, whose deaths were both ruled suicides, were both friends of Leto’s and had toured with his band in the past. Thirty Seconds to Mars and Linkin Park toured together in 2014 as part of the “Carnivores Tour,” and Jared and Chester remained close friends until the Linkin Park frontman’s sudden death.
“I think about his family, I think about his band, who were really his brothers,” Jared Leto said of Chester Bennington, according to Rolling Stone. “And I remember his voice, at once ferocious and delicate. That voice will live forever.”
Jared Leto ended his speech by offering encouragement to viewers suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, reminding them they are not alone and urging them not to give up. Then, Jared asked the crowd to get up out of their seats and stand up in remembrance of Chester Bennington. When no one did, Leto told the audience he could wait there all day for them to stand up.
Once the audience stood up, a throwback Linkin Concert performance began to play on the big screen, but it was quickly cut short by an MTV commercial break. Chester Bennington fans were not happy about the audience members’ lack of respect and the disrespectful commercial interruption, and many took to social media to slam MTV for the ill-timed break.
Crowd couldn't be bothered to stand up and pay respect, then MTV cuts the Chester Bennington tribute for commercial. MTV, you are trash.
— Daniel D (@imquitegood) August 28, 2017
it's so disrespectful that Jared Leto had to ask the audience a SECOND time for them to stand up to honor Chester. disgusting. #vmas
— rae (@ayeeeeitsrach3l) August 28, 2017
The fact @JaredLeto had to tell the VMA audience twice to stand up during Chester and Chris's tribute was a disgrace!! ????
— Steph (@Letoalways01) August 28, 2017
— Devon Nyers (@GuitarKid581) August 28, 2017
— Josie Nicole (@JosieNicolee) August 28, 2017
Jared Leto has not commented on the abrupt commercial break that cut his tribute to Chester Bennington short. Jared previously paid tribute to his late friend during a Thirty Seconds to Mars concert at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York, where he performed acoustic versions of the songs “Alibi” and “The Kill” after giving an emotional speech about his friendship with the late Linkin Park singer.
You can see Jared Leto’s tribute to Chester Bennington at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards below.
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]