A band is physically ejected from a venue by the audience after displaying flags bearing Nazi swastikas. So what happens now?
There are calls for veteran Brisbane punk band Big Bongin' Baby to be banned from local venues after allegedly displaying flags bearing swastikas during a recent show at The Bearded Lady.
According to eyewitness reports, singer and guitarist for Big Bongin' Baby 'Gutterball' Pete Callan announced audiences should get out their cameras then dedicated their next song to Brisbane musician JJ Speedball, who is of German heritage.
[In a statement on Facebook, JJ Speedball has distanced himself from the incident confirming he was not present at the show, that he takes the insult not as a political statement but as a racial slur personally directed at him and that he is highly offended. JJ Speedball declined any further comment.]
It is claimed a friend of the band named 'Kathy' handed a flag bearing the Nazi swastika each to Pete and bassist Dickie, who both went to put them on their amps.
Within seconds, the sound engineer cut the audio and General Manager of The Bearded Lady Jamie Simmonds immediately instructed the band to leave before they were run off the premises by the incensed and offended crowd.
“I was in the bar. My soundie came down and said he's just cut the band because they came out with a Nazi flag on stage; I went out, told them to get out of the venue,” Jamie recounts.
“The thing is it wasn't the whole band, it was literally one guy. The other band members felt really bad and didn't know what was going on; one guy and his girlfriend have walked onstage with the flag and that's when we shut it down and kicked them out, kicked out the whole band.”
It's a move that's been branded 'despicable' by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, had members of Big Bongin' Baby labelled 'idiots' along with destroying whatever credibility they had built up over the past 20-odd years, and one that has led to a public outcry for them to be banned from local venues on a large scale.
Having already banned them from his own premises, Jamie says it's unlikely other venues will be likely to book the band anytime soon.
“That's up to the other venue owners but this story has gone pretty big so if anyone wants to book them it's on their backs,” he says.
“It's not for me to say to other venues how to run their venues, what bands to book and what bands not to book but I'd be very surprised if anyone wants to book this band, and if a venue did book them then they're only doing it for a very specific reason. Who would book in a band where one of the members pulls out a Nazi flag?”
Seen by some as a dumb stunt for mere shock value, and by others a grievously offensive and unforgivable gesture, for Jamie and his staff it's the straw that broke the camel's back when it comes to punters and performers disrespecting his venue and employees, and he's got a message for you all.
“For some unknown reason people think that because we're a bar they can come in here and do whatever they want in here,” he says.
“It's not a public arena here, it's mine and my mum's bar - we employ our staff, we're the people who say what goes on in our venue. It's quite misleading that people think they can walk into bar... and act however they want because we have to put up with it. No, we don't have to put up with it.
"That was the last straw: anyone who steps into our venue now, if they don't 100 per cent respect it then they can turn around and leave.”