Roger Waters is once again facing allegations of antisemitism — now leading to a police investigation in Germany. The former Pink Floyd singer donned a costume parodying an SS uniform when he performed “In the Flesh?” in Berlin on May 17 and 18, as he has throughout his current tour. Berlin police then told AFP days later that Waters was being investigated on “suspicion of incitement to public hatred” due to the outfit, since Germany has laws against antisemitism and displaying Nazi imagery. After news of the investigation, Waters denounced the “bad-faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles” in a Facebook post. Waters also noted the song, as part of Pink Floyd’s album The Wall, was written as a satire about fascism, and this was not the first time he’d performed it that way. The Berlin investigation will continue for three months before charges could be made, police said.
Waters has long faced claims of antisemitism for his pro-Palestine and anti-Israel stances. On this tour, he projected a number of names of people killed through alleged fascism, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Waters was criticized for including the names of Anne Frank, who died in the Holocaust, and Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist killed last year while covering an Israeli raid in the West Bank. The controversy led to protests over Waters’s following shows in Munich and Frankfurt, the latter of which took place at Festhalle, a venue where German Jews were once taken during the November pogroms and which once stored military uniforms. Due to concerns over Waters’s views and the venue’s history, the mayor of Frankfurt tried to have the show canceled, but a court allowed Waters to perform. During the show, a man rushed the stage with an Israeli flag, and shortly after, Waters explained to the crowd that he would not be wearing the controversial costume that night. “I feel for the people who are concerned about desecration of this place,” he said. “That’s why I’m making this small, but I hope significant, gesture tonight.”