S band the Killers has apologised after inviting a Russian drummer on stage during a show in Georgia which led to boos and walkouts from the crowd.
Frontman Brandon Flowers described fans as “brothers and sisters” at the gig on Tuesday night, despite Georgia being a former Soviet state that Russia invaded in 2008.
Georgia has a long history of tension with Russia, exacerbated by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and a subsequent influx of Russian emigrants escaping their country.
The band, seven times nominated for the music industry’s Grammy Awards, performed in the Black Sea resort of Batumi during a European tour.
Videos of the performance shared online show Flowers asking the crowd: “We don’t know the etiquette of this land but this guy is a Russian, you okay with a Russian coming up here?”
People could be heard shouting “No!” and booing as the fan made his way to the stage.
Later Mr Flowers said: “So I’m not your brother? Am I not your brother, being from America, am I not your brother?”
Mr Brandon added: “One of the things we have come to appreciate about being in this band is that it brings people together.
“Tonight I want us to celebrate together and I don’t want it to turn ugly.
“I see you as my brothers and my sisters,” Mr Flowers added to the sound of boos and whistles in a video published by the Russian state RIA news agency.
The band later apologised to the “good people of Georgia” in a statement posted to Facebook.
“It was never our intention to offend anyone!” the band said, adding that it had a longstanding tradition of inviting people to play the drums.
“We recognise that a comment, meant to suggest that all of the Killers’ audience and fans are ‘brothers and sisters,’ could be misconstrued,” it added.
The statement read: “We have a longstanding tradition of inviting people to play drums and it seemed from the stage that the initial response from the crowd indicated that they were okay with tonight’s audience participation member coming onstage with us.
“We recognise that a comment, meant to suggest that all of The Killers’ audience and fans are ‘brothers and sisters’, could be misconstrued.
“We did not mean to upset anyone and we apologise. We stand with you and hope to return soon.”
Georgian public opinion is overwhelmingly pro-Ukrainian.
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