The Killers brought a Russian fan onstage in the country of Georgia last night (August 15), telling the crowd that they were all “brothers and sisters” despite severe tensions between the nation and its domineering neighbor, which invaded it in 2008. Booing and walkouts ensued, The Guardian reports, citing video from inside and outside the Black Sea Arena. The band apologized afterward, writing on social media, “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.”
Upon introducing the Russian person, Killers singer Brandon Flowers said, “We don’t know the etiquette of this land, but this guy’s a Russian. You OK with a Russian coming up here?” One video shows a chorus of “no”s and boos ring out. After the song, Flowers added, “You can’t recognize if someone’s your brother? He’s not your brother? We all separate on the borders of our countries?” He went on to speechify about the unifying ethos of Christianity. “Am I not your brother, being from America?” he asked. Before continuing the show, he said, “I don’t want it to turn ugly. And I see you as my brothers and my sisters.”
The Killers’ apology reads, in full:
Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone! 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 recognize 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 apologize. We stand with you and hope to return soon.