The Bloodhound Gang have found themselves banned from Russia for desecrating the national flag during a performance in the Ukraine. They've also been pelted with eggs and tomatoes, and been beaten and literally whipped.
Here is crowd-sourced video of the incident:
In the video, the crowd can first be seen booing the Russian flag that had been put on stage, and then cheering the Ukranian flag. The Bloodhound Gang's bass player Jared Hasselhoff is seen taking the Russian flag and putting it down the front of his pants, pulling it through the back of his pants, and then throwing the flag out to the crowd. Before putting it down his pants, he had said jokingly "Don't tell Putin."
The fallout has been significant, to say the least. The Associated Press reports that Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky tweeted on Friday: "Talked to Krasnodar territory leadership. Bloodhound Gang packing suitcases. These idiots won't perform in Kubana."
According to the AP report, the band was also pelted with eggs and tomatoes. CNN has an even more shocking report that the band was physically beaten and whipped:
A member of the band's crew, who asked to not be named for security reasons, told CNN the band was attacked Saturday by Russian nationalists inside Anapa airport in Krasnodar Krai.
The band members were "beaten up" by a crowd of men, he said, who punched and kicked them. Some of the attackers had whips.
He said there were no serious injuries and that the band and its entourage were now safe. A Russian police guard is accompanying them as they wait for the next flight out, he said.
In his defense, Jared Hasselhoff explained during a press conference that it is a band tradition for anything thrown on stage to be passed through his pants. He also claimed that the reason he threw the flag back into the crowd was that members of the audience seemed disturbed to see it on the stage.
Earlier this week, Rolling Stone reported that Madonna and Lady Gaga violated their Russian visas which did not permit them to conduct in commercial activity while in the country. This is being seen as a crackdown by the country on foreign entertainers leading up to the 2014 winter olympics.
It also coincides with a member of Pussy Riot being denied parole as she remains in jail for "hooliganism aimed at inciting religious hatred."
In non-music news, the NSA leaker Edward Snowden being granted political asylum in Russia as he avoids the United States government's attempt to bring him to court for exposing the secret spying practices that have been going on. This has allowed him to leave the tight confines of the Moscow airport.
Events like this show that free speech is something that shouldn't be taken for granted. In the USA, artists are allowed to talk and perform in any way they like as long as it isn't harmful to anyone else or infringing on their rights. This childish act by the Bloodhound Gang's bass player wasn't a particularly smart thing to do, but the intense reaction by the Russians has been an eye-opening reminder that international tensions are at the highest they've been for some time.