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Anti-semitic, Putin-apologist: Pink Floyd lyricist’s jab at Roger Waters

The band's former bassist refutes allegations made by David Gilmour's wife Polly Samson, says he's taking advice on his position
(L-R) David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright at the Live 8 reunion concert on July 2, 2005 in London, England
(L-R) David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright at the Live 8 reunion concert on July 2, 2005 in London, England

Arnab Chatterjee   |   Published 07.02.23, 05:28 PM

The already strained ties between David Gilmour and Roger Waters, the two heavyweights of legendary British rock band, Pink Floyd, seem to have taken a further nosedive after acclaimed author and David Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, criticised Waters, labelling him as anti-Semitic and a Putin apologist.

Taking to Twitter, Samson called out Pink Floyd’s former bassist and vocalist over his interview to the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. “Sadly @rogerwaters you are antisemitic to your rotten core,” Samson posted on Twitter. 


“Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching, misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense,” her tweet read.

David Gilmour subsequently liked and retweeted his wife’s social media post with the caption: “Every word demonstrably true”.

In his interview to Berliner Zeitung and also in previous public statements, Waters has echoed a stance on the Russia-Ukraine war that is at variance from the general anti-Russia and pro-Ukraine political sentiments reigning in Europe. He also spoke in detail why he is against the policies and military aggression of Israel against Palestinians.

Showing irreverence for what Western media has termed “Russian aggression”, Waters rebuffed it as US propaganda and called the "proxy-war" a source of revenue for the arms industry. 

He referred to the events in 2004 where Putin offered to conduct talks regarding how the West’s plans to include Ukraine in NATO threatens the Russian Federation and could lead to a war. The US and NATO brushing off Putin’s attempt and both of the parties settling in their respective positions has led the world to the present, Waters explained.

Lamenting the making of “Hey Hey Rise Up”, a Ukrainian protest song released by Pink Floyd in collaboration with popstar Andriy Khlyvnyuk, Waters said, “I have seen the video and I am not surprised, but I find it really, really sad. It’s so alien to me, this action is so lacking in humanity. It encourages the continuation of the war”, as per the English translation of the interview posted on the lyricist-composer’s website.

He says that as a neutral party, he would hold up no flags and urge world leaders to gather around the table for discussions and hopefully end the war. 

Waters has flagged Israel as an apartheid state for its genocide against the people of Palestine in the past. Reassuring critics that he is not an anti-Semite despite being labelled as such by various Israeli lobbies, Waters remarked, “In my opinion, Israel has a right to exist as long as it is a true democracy, as long as no group, religious or ethnic, enjoys more human rights than any other. But unfortunately that is exactly what is happening in Israel and Palestine.” 

In response to Samson’s tweet, Water’s social media team responded: “Roger Waters is aware of the incendiary and wildly inaccurate comments made about him on Twitter by Polly Samson which he refutes entirely. He is currently taking advice as to his position.”

The turn of events unfolded in the backdrop of the bitter relations the two stalwarts of progressive rock have shared since Pink Floyd’s split in 1985. Waters filed a suit against Gilmour as the latter went on to release two more albums A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell under the Pink Floyd moniker with drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Richard Wright and also his wife, who was co-lyricist in many of the songs of the post-Waters phase.

Pink Floyd redefined the genre of progressive-psychedelic rock on the back of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums like The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, among others.

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