Stick To Your Guns dropped from four shows in Europe over alleged pro-Putin sentiment
Southern California melodic hardcore/metalcore outfit Stick To Your Guns have been removed from their headlining spot at next month's Fajt Fest 2022 in the Czech Republic in the wake of allegations that vocalist Jesse Barnett is pro-Putin and dismissive of Ukraine's plight in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War.
The controversy seems to have been ignited late last week when a Czech Republic resident (reportedly an American living abroad) took to Instagram to lash out at Barnett in the wake of an exchange with him over his alleged silence on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While sharing screenshots of said exchange with Barnett, the person said, "I've decided to make a series of shareable posts regarding Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns, his pro communist genocide apologist beliefs and the fact that he's scheduled to play in the Czech Republic and Poland."
The person's attempts to have Stick To Your Guns dropped from Fajt Fest 2022 were ultimately successful as STYG were officially removed from the festival roster a day later. Shortly thereafter, Barnett issued the following statement via Instagram:
"Recently there have been accusations made against me that I am a Pro Putin supporter and that I am a supporter of the war in Ukraine. People have began to call me a neo-nazi and fascist. These are not claims that I take lightly. I have tried with all of my heart and soul to be a person who adds something good to this world and who is someone who leads with justice in mind. With that being said, I know that my view points have sometimes been controversial, leading to consequences. (Being banned from venues for being pro Palestine, being banned from venues for anti religious views, not being allowed to play certain places due to my staunch anti police stance etc etc.) What's different here is that the claims of me being a fascist, a fascist sympathizer or a genocide denier are not ones that I can just brush off. I am not a supporter of Putin or his war in Ukraine. He is not a model of anything I believe to be just or good in this world.advertisement"There is a quote I love from a poet name Warsan Shire that goes 'No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark'. The war in Ukraine has turned many working peoples homes into the mouth of a shark. I do not support this anywhere in the world. I believe that all people have the right to live in peace. ANYONE who takes that right away from innocent people doesn't deserve to breathe.
"Now for some self criticism: I have allowed my hatred for America and the way it meddles in the affairs of countries across the globe to cloud my judgement when it comes to how I engage with people online. I am so passionately against America's abhorrent treatment of human beings both in the U.S. and abroad that I made myself, in many times, unable to be reasoned with. This is something I have reflected on. I can sometimes engage with people online in a way that is so unrecognizable to my friends, peers and family who truly know me and because of this I misrepresent myself and who I am. I think that I can get so caught up in telling myself 'the internet isn't real' that I forget there are real people behind the accounts. To put it plainly, that shit straight up sucks of me. The internet is a miserable place to try to have these massive and important discussions in any sort of meaningful way and more often than not, it has lead me to become overly aggressive and dismissive of people where I lash out and say things I sometimes don't mean. Moving forward I will do my absolute best to better represent myself and the values that I genuinely hold true."
Moreover, during the past two days Stick To Your Guns have apparently had three upcoming shows canceled in Slovakia and Poland. The band's headlining European tour got underway this past Friday in Germany.