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.)
Let’s pray for peace and a swift end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Is there any hope?…. pic.twitter.com/jHD56KXkcu
— Rihanna (@rihanna) July 15, 2014
NBA player Dwight Howard also instantly deleted a #FreePalestine tweet, calling it a “mistake” and apologized if he offended anyone.
previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will. — Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) July 12, 2014
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.