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Japanese Breakfast cancels show at venue hosting Michael Flynn’s tour

Japanese Breakfast performs during Jack Antonoff's 1984 Superjam at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on June 18 in Manchester, Tenn. (Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Alternative pop band Japanese Breakfast says it will not perform at Main Street Armory in Rochester, N.Y., after learning that the venue would also be hosting the far-right ReAwaken America Tour next month.

The ReAwaken tour, organized by Tulsa businessman Clay Clark and co-signed by former president Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, has boasted speakers for its Rochester stop such as political lobbyist Roger Stone, according to Clark’s Thrivetime Show website.

Japanese Breakfast, an indie band led by Korean American singer Michelle Zauner, was slated to perform at the venue on Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. with rock band Yo La Tengo. But the group pulled the plug this week.

“We have canceled the event because a number of people reached out letting us know they were boycotting the venue because of the Reawaken America tour,” Japanese Breakfast said in a tweet Thursday afternoon. “It’s a picket line we support and are not interested in crossing.”

Japanese Breakfast’s Rochester concert would have been part of the band’s 2022 North American tour, which on different tour dates has featured musical acts such as rock bands the Linda Lindas and Florence + the Machine.

The band, whose name is meant to highlight the juxtaposition between American pop culture and how Asians are exoticized, was the musical guest for “Saturday Night Live’s” 47th season finale. The band members performed “Be Sweet” and “Paprika” from its latest album, “Jubilee.”

“We are unfortunately unable to move the event to a different venue [at] this time but we love Rochester and I am sure we will return someday soon,” Japanese Breakfast also said on Twitter.

The ReAwaken America Tour started in April 2021. In an interview with Charisma News, Clark explained that the tour is a movement to protest regulations in place to reduce coronavirus spread and to further the baseless accusation that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. The tour has made stops in Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona, and is scheduled to be held in Rochester on Aug. 12 and 13.

An online petition was created urging Main Street Armory to cancel the ReAwaken America event, citing that it was “likely to draw white supremacists and other members of hate groups from around the northeast to our community.”

The tour, which has been criticized in multiple media outlets as a breeding ground for far-right extremist group QAnon, has featured Flynn, along with radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, political activist and radio host Charlie Kirk and Eric Trump in its lineup of speakers.

Flynn’s representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Flynn, 63, most recently made headlines for pleading his Fifth Amendment rights in a deposition before the House committee hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack after he was asked whether he believes in the peaceful transition of power in the United States. He was subpoenaed about a post-election meeting he attended with Trump in which the former president allegedly suggested seizing voting boxes.

Flynn was the U.S. national security adviser during the Trump administration, but he resigned after three weeks for his potentially illegal communication with the Russian ambassador at the time.

Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI on contacts with Russian ambassador

Japanese Breakfast concert promoter After Dark Presents told Main Street Armory on Thursday to stop ticket sales for the concert. Main Street Armory owner Scott Donaldson said he wasn’t given a reason why the band members canceled and never spoke to them about the ReAwaken America event.

Donaldson said the venue has been “hit right between the eyes,” caught in the middle of a clash between ReAwaken America’s supporters and critics. The venue is apolitical, he said, and the space has been rented out for hundreds of events, from volleyball tournaments to hip-hop concerts, regardless of any criticism they draw.

“You can’t please everyone,” Donaldson said. “This is a business, not a political arena.”

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