Filter Show Canceled Over ‘Artistic Expression’ Flag Debate
Filter had planned to play the Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso, Texas Thursday night (March 7), but those plans changed when they were informed by the venue management that a social media post singer Richard Patrick had posted was not appreciated and that they were no longer welcome.
The offending post featured a short video of the band sound checking at the venue, with Patrick captioning the post, "This is sound check!! We’re Playing El Paso!!! Get here later and it will be packed!! A lot of Trump bashing! Does anyone know Beto?? Bring Beto!"
While some might feel that seems a bit extreme, the social media post, combined with the band's intent on using visual imagery -- in particular the use of an American flag turned upside down -- during their show did not sit well with the venue's management.
According to a post from Filter about the cancellation on the band's social media, "The band was told the venue 'didn’t like' the post and that they were getting threatening phone calls and bomb threats from Texans who didn’t like it either. The tour manager was in the green room and woke up from a pre-show nap to 30 yellow-shirted security guards and the General Manager shouting expletives and telling the band they were not welcome at the venue. 'The First Amendment does not exist in this Casino. Get the f@*k out,' they said."
Management also called out Patrick on the video, telling the singer it was illegal to display the flag upside down in the video. The law concerning the manner states, "The flag should never been displayed with union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."
Patrick explained, “This is a dire emergency! This country is totally jacked up!! This is my right to artistic expression. If they are going to tell me that I am un-American for saying that about the President, I’d ask them if they have been to Iraq or Afghanistan. I have been over there and love and respect the job that our troops are doing over there – fighting to ensure our rights to say what we like. As a matter of fact - I was asked recently what Filter stands for and THIS IS IT - our freedom of expression!”
Filter end their account of the evening with a reference to the First Amendment, The Texas Constitution, in Article I, sections 8 and 27 which protects the "liberty to speak, write or publish … opinions on any subject." They add, "You have the right to express your views in these ways regardless of how unpopular or controversial they may be."
As for the Speaking Rock Casino, they issued a statement of their own on the cancellation. "Unfortunately due to safety concerns associated with Filter’s performance tonight we will be canceling their show," stated the venue. "We want everyone who comes to our venue to experience entertainment with positivity, union, safety, and joy. We all have our own political views and want to respect everyone’s opinion, but our shows will not be a platform for it. We apologize for the cancellation. On a positive note, Fall 2 Rise will still be on at 7p."
The show was Filter's last scheduled date for a little while, as the band's next scheduled appearance is May 25 at St. Louis' annual Pointfest radio festival.
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