The frontman of Eagles of Death Metal, the U.S. rock band that was performing in a Paris theater in 2015 when it was hit by a terrorist attack, has publicly slammed the teens behind last weekend’s March For Our Lives protest.
Jesse Hughes called the survivors of last month’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school “vile abusers of the dead,” and claimed they were “exploiting” the deaths of their fellow students with their demonstrations and media appearances.
“When the truth don’t line up with your bullshit narrative just hold your breath and stamp your feet and refused to except it,” Hughes wrote in a series of typo-riddled posts on Instagram. Although the posts were eventually deleted, they were preserved in a number of places.
“It might be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic and disgusting,” he wrote.
Eagles of Death Metal were performing at the Bataclan theater in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, when Islamic State militants launched a series of attacks. By the end of the night, the militants had killed 130 people, including 89 at the Bataclan, and wounded hundreds more throughout the city.
Referring to the attack, Hughes wrote:
“As the survivor of a mass shooting I can tell you from first-hand experience that all of you protesting and taking days off from school insult the memory of those who were killed and abuse and insult me and every other lover of liberty by your every action.....Long Live Rock’n’Roll..... and may everyone [sic] of these disgusting vile abusers of the dead live as long as possible so they can have the maximum amount of time to endure their shame....and be Cursed....”
Hughes also posted an image of shooting survivor Emma González that was doctored to look like she was tearing up the Constitution. He called her “the awful face of treason” and a “survivor of nothing.” In the original animation, González ripped up a gun-target poster typically seen at shooting ranges.
After Hughes’ posts were deleted, no new statements appeared. However, the band’s official Facebook page quickly filled with posts from one-time fans who say they’re done with the group.
Hughes is no stranger to controversy. Just months after the Paris attacks, he denounced France’s tough gun control laws.
“Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan? And if anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it because I don’t think so,” he said at the time.
In 2016, Hughes suggested that some of the security guards at the theater were complicit in the attacks because they hadn’t come to work that day.
“It seems rather obvious that they had a reason not to show up,” he told Fox Business.
Hughes later apologized for the accusation.