On Monday morning, Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams took to Instagram to share a video of himself performing one of his greatest hits on an acoustic guitar. The Instagram concert was in lieu of a series of shows in the United Kingdom that were canceled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic. However, it was his caption that caught the attention of social media users, many of whom perceived his comments as racist and offensive.
According to Variety, the controversy started when Adams posted a video of himself performing his 1983 hit “Cuts Like a Knife,” seemingly at home. He explained in the caption that Monday night was supposed to kick off a “tenancy of gigs” at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and then unleashed a series of remarks that seemed to blame the pandemic on wet market vendors.
“[T]hanks to some f*cking bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards, the whole world is now on hold, not to mention the thousands that have suffered or died from this virus.”
“My message to them other than ‘thanks a f*cking lot’ is go vegan.”
The singer concluded his caption by admitting that he misses his fans, his band, and his crew, while also expressing hope that he’ll soon be able to perform live once again.
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THE STORIES OF THE STREET. A song by Leonard Cohen. #selfisolation #songsfromisolation #covid_19 #stayhome #socialdistancing #besafe #selfdistancing #thewayoftheworld #leonardcohen With one hand on the hexagram And one hand on the girl I balance on a wishing well That all men call the world We are so small between the stars So large against the sky And lost among the subway crowds I try to catch your eye
Although many people have blamed the spread of coronavirus on the prevalence of wet markets in Wuhan, China — and the consumption of bats that are allegedly sold in such places — Variety noted that there is still no definitive evidence that could link wet markets to the deadly virus.
Several of Adams’ followers reportedly took aim at the veteran rocker in the comments section of his post, per CBC. Multiple people referred to his caption as “racist garbage,” with one of them suggesting that the fans who agreed with his sentiments were “disgusting” for feeling that way.
The singer also faced backlash on Twitter, where his name trended on Monday night, per CBC. Multiple users on that platform also chimed in with their thoughts on his controversial remarks.
“BRYAN ADAMS: wrote my first real racist tweet / my career already in decline / blaming the Chinese for my lack of income / was the summer of COVID one-nine,” one user tweeted, parodying the lyrics of Adams’ 1985 hit “Summer of ’69” and providing a screenshot of the musician’s Instagram caption.
Speaking to CBC, Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, similarly remarked that Adams was very “irresponsible” for saying such things as a beloved public figure. She argued that Adams could be perceived as potentially justifying the “racist hatred” against Chinese people during the ongoing pandemic.
As of this writing, Adams has yet to issue a statement on the matter.