Singer on Bataclan attack night apologizes for insider role remark

  • AFP, New York
  • Updated: Mar 12, 2016 15:35 IST
Jesse Hughes and his US rock group Eagles of Death Metal were playing at the Bataclan music hall in Paris when the Islamic State attack in Paris took place in November 2015. (AFP)

The frontman of the band whose concert was targeted in the Paris attacks apologized on Friday for alleging that the club’s security guards were involved, saying he was struggling with trauma.

“I humbly beg forgiveness from the people of France, the staff and security of the Bataclan, my fans, family, friends and anyone else hurt or offended by the absurd accusations I made,” said Jesse Hughes, singer and guitarist of Eagles of Death Metal.

“My suggestions that anyone affiliated with the Bataclan played a role in the events of November 13 are unfounded and baseless -- and I take full responsibility for them,” he said in a statement.

The artist in an interview with the Fox Business channel had cast suspicion on the guards of the Bataclan club, suggesting that some had been involved in the attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Hughes had cited as evidence the lack of eye contact of a guard in charge of the backstage area and what he said was the absence of around six security personnel on the night of the attack.

Ninety people were killed when assailants opened fire and hurled grenades during the set of the California garage rockers in the deadliest of a series of coordinated attacks around Paris.

The Bataclan, a historic venue for mid-sized acts in Paris, had strongly denied the rocker’s suggestion, saying that its staff likely saved hundreds of lives and concluded that his judgment was clouded by the trauma.

Hughes offered a similar rationale in his apology, saying: “I’ve been dealing with non-stop nightmares and struggling through therapy to make sense of this tragedy and insanity. I haven’t been myself since November 13.”

Hughes also said that his earlier statements did not reflect the views of others in the band, declaring: “The shame is 100 percent mine.”

A total of 130 people were killed in the series of attacks, with 350 more injured, many of them grievously.

Hughes had not definitively alleged an inside job, saying that he was offering his own assessment as police complete their investigation.

Hughes in a previous interview also cast suspicion on security at the club, saying that the band’s soundman spotted two people already in the club before the show whose attire and behavior were atypical for rock fans.

He also said that the assailants allowed several people to leave, which he offered as evidence that they were familiar with the club’s audience.

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