A recently released poster promoting a Pearl Jam show in support of Democratic Senator Jon Tester has raised a few eyebrows and a great deal of furor, according to Fox News, particularly the imagery depicting the White House broken and in flames as well as the corpse of what resembles President Donald Trump lying prone on the front lawn.
The grunge outfit recently held the concert at Grizzly Stadium in Washington on August 13 in support of Tester’s bid in the upcoming midterm elections to be held in November, which many politicos on either side of the partisan divide see as key to greater success in leveraging their side’s agenda, according to analysis provided by CNN. Tester has been a very outspoken critic of the Trump administration and for this has been venerated by progressive politicians and their supporters and likewise castigated and attacked by conservatives.
In order to better promote the show and lend some punk-rock street credibility to the affair, Pearl Jam bassist and artist Bobby Skullz collaborated on the aesthetic artwork that would become the center of the current controversy. The scene is set with hard black lines against a crisp white background, with a street art presentation that spoke to the rebellious fan base of the grunge act.
Prominently featured is the Lincoln Memorial with deep cracks seated in the surface and in danger of the spire crumbling entirely. Below, Donald Trump’s caricatured proxy lies on the ground in front of a White House engulfed by an inferno, flames shooting from every window. Disheveled and beaten, his arm outstretched towards what appears to be a briefcase emblazoned with the Soviet hammer and sickle motif, President Trump appears to be in the process of being pecked by a bald eagle — the symbolism could not be made more clear.
Sen. Tester flies above the fracas, jumping between the giant lettering of P and J that stand as initials for the band themselves on an obvious stand-in for a John Deere tractor. Tester’s opponent to be, Montana Senate Republican candidate Matt Rosendale, is depicted with a lobster claw holding forth a pennant that reads “Maryland” — a frequent attack on Rosendale being that he is actually a carpetbagger from Maryland who has no stake in Montana besides owning a ranch there which he rents out to travellers and experience seekers, according to Talking Points Memo.
Pearl Jam shared the poster to social media service Instagram accompanied by a short statement making plain their endorsement of the Democratic candidate.
“We’re at a tipping point and its [sic] time for action. Jon Tester is the real deal and nobody cares more about our country and especially Montana.”
For his part, Rosendale criticized the poster and its connotations in a statement offered to Fox News.
“Once again, Jon Tester has shown he will stand with the far-left over Montanans. This poster from Pearl Jam is disgusting and reprehensible. It depicts a dead President Trump and a burning White House. It’s time for Jon Tester to denounce this act of violence and blatant display of extremism.”
When reached out to for a comment, spokespersons for Jon Tester had no immediate comment on the matter. Some fans, though, felt differently.
“Used to love you guys. F*** you,” one user wrote.
“Keep in mind this is the same band that tried to convince everyone the Clintons were honest hardworking people… Unfortunately they are a shell of the former selves who fought for the working class but now cater to the left wing trendy a**hats. Disappointed in this classless ‘art’ and it’s probably the ugliest poster they’ve put out but I never followed them because of their political stance,” wrote another.
Pearl Jam has not commented further on the outcry since offering their poster and their performance just a few days previous.