NOFX Issue Formal Apology for Route 91 Joke
When punk band NOFX — a group long famous for its irreverent and often offensive sense of humor — made the decision to crack a tasteless joke about the Route 91 shooting during a recent Las Vegas set, reactions were swift and severe from music fans.
The band's frontman "Fat Mike" Burkett told the Blast on May 31, "What we said in Vegas was sh--ty and insensitive," but the band did not offer an immediate formal apology, despite losing a slot on a prominent punk-rock festival billing this weekend as a result.
However, on Sunday afternoon (June 3), they finally spelled out their regrets in a lengthy Facebook post, saying that they had needed some time to figure out what they wanted to say:
"There’s no place here to backpedal. What NOFX said in Vegas was shameful. We crossed the line of civility. We can’t write songs about how people in this world need to be more decent, when we were clearly being indecent. Las Vegas has always been a welcoming city to our band, and to make light of the tragedy that occurred there was egregious.
All members of the band would like to sincerely apologize to anyone who experienced loss from the Vegas shooting 8 months ago, and to anyone who was at our show who lost a loved one or a friend, or who had to witness the incredibly senseless violence that night.
We were asked why we didn’t release an immediate apology. Well, we didn’t feel that we could write a sincere apology without reflecting on the actual damage we had done. No press agent was gonna write this for us. That’s why we have struggled with this for the past few days."
The band added a timely dig at actor Roseanne Barr, who recently blamed racist comments on her use of the medication Ambien:
"We didn’t plan or intend on saying anything so insensitive. It was off the cuff, but just as hurtful. We won’t blame it on drugs or alcohol or Ambien. That’s too easy. NOFX said it, and we own it. We made a tasteless joke. But to be clear, NOFX does not condone violence against ANY group of people, period!"
They concluded the note with the sign-off: "As sincere as we’ve ever been, NOFX"
As of press time, the comment had received more than 700 comments, many of which were from music fans who remained disapproving of the initial joke, but thanked the band for making the effort to write out a thoughtful post on the matter.
"I know you guys were kidding. It just wasn't funny," said one fan. "I accept your apology NOFX. At least you're trying."
"Dark humor is a coping mechanism for so many of us," noted another.
However, many commenters were not swayed. "Apologies are always welcome," posted one, but added: "Those who live in this city haven’t forgotten and don’t believe it’s a laughable matter. I’m sad to see how many think it’s no big thing."
The Los Angeles-based group performed at the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival in Vegas May 27, and in a video obtained by TMZ, after they finished a song Burkett remarked, "We played a song about Muslims and we didn't get shot. Hooray." Another band member added, "I guess you only get shot in Vegas if you are in a country band," to which Burkett replied, "That [the massacre] sucked, but at least they were country fans and not punk rock fans."
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