Eddie Vedder continues trend of clarifying comments made about Middle East conflict

July 21, 2014

Eddie Vedder performs on the second day of the Super Rock festival, in Meco, Sesimbra, (TIAGO PETINGA/EPA)

Eddie Vedder became the latest celebrity who was forced to clarify comments made about the turmoil in the Middle East, and reiterate that he is, above all, “pro-peace.”

Earlier this month during a Pearl Jam concert in England, Vedder let the expletives fly with a very NSFW anti-war rant, with comments including “There are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill…They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them.” His comments immediately sparked controversy when video hit the Internet; though he didn’t mention any specific countries, though the Jersulaem Post called it an “anti-Israel diatribe.”

Later, Vedder took to the Pearl Jam Web site to elaborate his anti-war stance, writing in part, “I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.” And: “We are such a remarkable species…We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.”

He further spoke about the topic at a concert over the weekend in Portugal, in which he played John Lennon’s “Imagine”; he quoted the song in his message on the Web site. According to Rolling Stone, he explained, “If you’re anti-war it doesn’t mean you are ‘pro’ one side or the other in a conflict,” he said, and called himself “pro-peace,” “pro-human,” and “pro-love,” among other things.

Again, Vedder isn’t the first one to face trouble after making statements that appeared to choose a side: Last week, Rihanna quickly deleted a tweet that said #FreePalestine, and instead wrote a message urging for a “swift end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” (A Rihanna “source” told TMZ the singer didn’t realize she tweeted the message.)

NBA player Dwight Howard also instantly deleted a #FreePalestine tweet, calling it a “mistake” and apologized if he offended anyone.

And pop star Selena Gomez also faced controversy when she posted a photo to Instagram that read “Pray for Gaza.” She quickly followed that with another photo caption that stated, “And of course to be clear, I am not picking any sides. I am praying for peace and humanity for all!”

It also results in an obvious lesson for celebrities: No matter whether a tweet is out there for just a few minutes or it’s a video on YouTube forever, if you throw out an opinion about a heated topic, the backlash is always going to be inevitable.

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.
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