Bloodhound Gang's Russian Flag Stunt Ends in Concert Cancellation, Airport Beating

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 5 2013 9:41 AM

Bloodhound Gang's Russian Flag Stunt Ends in Concert Cancellation, Airport Beating

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The Bloodhound Gang, an American band whose name will probably sound kind of familiar thanks to their 1999 song "The Bad Touch" (best known for its chorus of "So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel"), is, against all odds, managing to generate international headlines this morning. Unfortunately, like their songs, the news isn't good.

The band's trouble began late last month during a performance in the Ukrainian city of Odessa during which one of the band's members—bassist Jared Hasselhoff, aka Evil—decided to stuff a Russian flag down the front of his pants and pull it out from the other side. "Don’t tell Putin," Hasselhoff told the crowd. It appears as though someone did. The New York Times explains what happened next:

By Sunday, the authorities had canceled the band’s concert in southern Russia, at the behest of the minister of culture. Angry Russians pelted the band’s van with eggs and tomatoes on its way out of the town of Anapa, near the concert venue.
Then, a group of Cossacks, or traditional Russian frontiersmen, known for their nationalist sentiments, assaulted the rockers in an airport lounge and tried to smother a band member with an American flag, before the police broke up the scuffle.
Though Mr. Hasselhoff publicly apologized and noted that passing items of all types through his pants is a band tradition, the top law enforcement agency in Russia, the Investigative Committee, threatened to press criminal charges for desecrating the national flag. The band reportedly left via a connecting flight through Moscow on Sunday, earlier than planned.

The official reaction from the Russian government isn't exactly a shock given Putin's feelings toward the mixing of music and politics, and/or dissenting opinion in general. But it appears as though Hasselhoff's stunt wasn't planned—or at least not with the blessing of all of his bandmates. "Russia is better than America, so I disapprove of that," the band’s frontman, Jimmy Pop, can be heard saying in the video. Of course, he may feel differently after this past weekend. Here's the footage of the airport assault, via Russia Today:

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