Halsey has made a statement addressing her silence on the Israel-Hamas war to “admit my regret”.
The singer previously expressed her support for Palestine during the 2021 crisis. A series of attacks starting after Israeli police blocked off the Damascus Gate (where Palestinian Arabs typically gather for Ramadan) resulted in the deaths of 83 people in Gaza – including 17 children – and seven in Israel.
However, fans noticed the singer had been unusually quiet during the current developments in the crisis. At the time of writing, the latest death toll stands at 11,423 Palestinians and at least 1,200 people killed in Israel (as per Al Jazeera). One X/Twitter user remarked on Halsey’s silence: “They’ve ALWAYS spoken up about Palestine, it’s such an odd time to be silent on it?”
Yesterday (November 14), Halsey posted on her Instagram stories to explain her absence. “A few people have suggested that it’s cowardice,” she wrote. “And to be completely honest, it is.” The singer, who has a two-year-old son named Ender, shared that she was “exceptionally anxious about navigating my responsibility as a career activist as it pertains to my daily life off of social media.”
She went on to explain that on her last tour, she had received “violent and threatening events” that “resulted in my home being swatted multiple times and required the presence of snipers in the sky during most of my shows that summer.” Consequently, Halsey “made a conscious decision to protect my family from people who plan to enact violence towards me in disagreement of my opinions.”
Halsey said despite this, “it doesn’t sit right with me that a decision I made for my own family is in turn keeping me from vocalizing support for families enduring far worse violence.”
“I have no meaningful statement or excuse to make that could justify my weeks of silence this time around,” she added. “And I deeply despise the culture of deflecting responsibility to save face in front of the audience demanding comment. So instead I’m coming here to call it for what it is, admit my regret, and reaffirm my stance regarding the liberation of the Palestinian people.”
The musician said her politics remained “unchanged”, standing against hate speech and for freedom and the right to live safely. She also said she would be making a “series of size-able donations to relief and support organizations.”
A number of artists have spoken out about the current conflict, with Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine making a recent statement on X/Twitter about the war. “Important to remember the horrific war crimes in Gaza aren’t being done by “the Jews” but rather by a particular murderous right-wing Israeli administration,” he tweeted on November 13.
He continued: “Many brave Jews in Israel & abroad condemn the slaughter. Our fight is against oppression. No room for antisemitism.”
iamhalsey: ig story pic.twitter.com/kBJE016Vcy
— Halsey Updates (@HalseyUpdates) November 15, 2023
Bob Vylan also criticised Sleaford Mods and IDLES for being “cowardly” at their recent show in Dublin for their stance on the war. The comments were made in the wake of Sleaford Mods cutting their show short in Madrid after a Palestinian scarf was thrown onto the stage, with singer Jason Williamson tweeting: “Don’t be asking me to pick sides for something I ain’t got any real idea about, at a gig.”
In response, Bob Vylan spoke to the audience in Dublin and said: “How the fuck can you call yourself a political left-wing band if you are not fucking speaking up for people that have no voice at the moment?”
“It’s a cowardly fucking thing,” they continued. “So fuck IDLES, fuck Sleaford Mods and fuck every single one of those fucking apolitical bands that don’t want to fucking speak up when there’s something a little bit iffy, a little bit touchy, a little bit sensitive [because they’ve] got a fucking bullshit album to sell.”
Sleaford Mods have since responded on Twitter, clarifying that the show in madrid “was repeatedly interrupted by someone in the audience shouting and throwing a flag/scarf on stage. I stopped the show to make comment, condemned civilian deaths and called for no more killing.”
Williamson went on to say that “this wasn’t enough and the interruptions continued. I walked off stage after 80 minutes as the cumulative effect was distracting and upsetting.”
He concluded: “The tweet in the aftermath was an attempt to apologise to those at the show, not comment widely on the ongoing atrocities. I’m as overwhelmed as you are and I don’t have the answers, all I know is we are all human and there needs to be a meaningful ceasefire. The slaughter needs to stop. No more. No more killing. NO MORE.”