DNA Lounge: Wherein no good deed goes unpunished.

Short version:

I kicked a support band off of a bill because I learned that they are virulent misogynists. Then the headliner, who claim to definitely not be Nazis, cancelled the whole show.

Long version:

You are probably aware that we do a lot of metal shows here.

That's not because I'm some big metal fan. Actually I don't give a shit about metal. We don't book everything based on my personal tastes. We do a lot of metal here because we do a lot of all kinds of music here. Our mission is to provide an outlet for a wide variety of music and art. We'll book pretty much anything, so long as we think it won't be a security problem, a legal problem, or lose us a bunch of money.

But you know what? We chose not to do business with misogynists, racists, homophobes and Nazis.

Not on purpose, anyway. Sure, some things have slipped through -- for example, Combichrist played here several times before I became aware of how vile they are -- but one does what one can.

With the world going to shit, I think it's more important than ever to make ethical decisions before financial ones.

So we had booked this band Watain, and they were bringing this other band Destroyer666 on tour with them. I don't know anything about these bands; don't care to, not my thing. But in January, someone pointed out to me that someone from Destroyer666 was quoted as saying, "Those #metoo cunts just need a hard cock".

Well, that's not someone I choose to do business with.

So I told my team, "Destroyer666 is not playing on my stage. If you can get them off the bill great; if not, cancel the whole show."

Well, the agent representing the headliner represents some other bands that we do care about, so my team took their time trying to work it out with him. The agent dragged his feet on it for months (and why wouldn't he? He chose to represent these people, his job is to get them gigs, and maybe if he ignores the problem it will go away.)

Well, the problem didn't go away, so we removed them from the bill in mid-February. I said, "We need to tell people about this", but my team were worried about antagonizing the agent and kept telling me "Uh, just give me a few more days", and of course nothing happened. So, that was a mistake.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago people finally noticed that they were not on the bill.

According to many, many comments aimed at me on Facebook and Twitter, the fact that I chose not to do business with a band over their rapey, abusive rhetoric makes me a "pussy" and a "faggot".

Let me be very clear about this:

If you feel that way, then by all means, stay away from DNA Lounge. We don't want your business. We try to be an inclusive venue where people of many different communities and backgrounds can feel safe and have a good time, and that means we are not welcoming to misogynists, racists, homophobes and fascists.

If that's you -- fuck off.

If you passively tolerate that in your community -- you're part of the problem.

So among the shouts of "pussy" and "faggot" and "censorship" and "cuck" and all the "what-about"-ism, one of the funnier comments was one that said, basically, "Metalheads are just chill people who want to see a show with no politics, why are you picking on us?"

Yes, metalheads are a simple, gentle folk who merely want to enjoy their growled sexist and racist diatribes in peace!

Part of the problem.

And I'll bet the dudes who say things like "SJWs are ruining metal" are at the same time wondering why there aren't more "chicks" at their shows. Hmmmm, could there be a connection?

Also, pro tip, if someone accuses you of saying something virulently misogynistic and your denial includes the phrase "PC hysteria" -- dude, now everybody is sure that you said it.

Then it gets better: after this all started blowing up, people pointed out to me that Watain have been ducking accusations of being Nazis for a decade.

How about that.

Maybe they are, maybe they aren't, but do you know who has never been accused of being a Nazi? Literally everyone I know.

It's actually really, really easy to avoid being accused of being a Nazi. First, don't be a Nazi! Second, don't be Nazi-adjacent! Don't be that guy who says shit like, "Oh, they're not Nazis, they're just fascinated with the Third Reich", or, "They're not Nazis, they just believe in blood purity", or, "They're not Nazis, they just hate immigrants", or, "They're not Nazis, the just don't like how the Jews control the banks."

Or the best -- the best rebuttal -- "What, can't you take a joke?"

Or -- Watain's own rebuttal -- "Metal doesn't have anything to do with the world like you know it."

Uh huh.

Anyway, we had been planning to go forward with the Watain show (minus Destroyer666) anyway because by the time all this bullshit came to a head, it was too late to back out of our contract without it costing us a lot of money and (more to the point) them getting paid anyway. But then at the last minute Watain decided to cancel the show.

Problem solved, I guess, and lessons learned: I guarantee you that my team will be googling things like "bandname nazi" more often in the future than they have been so far.

I understand that Watain and Destroyer666 will now be playing at Social Hall SF. Tickets purchased for the DNA show will be honored there. (Update: Social Hall SF decided that they didn't want it either. The show has now been cancelled and all tickets are being refunded.)

So, it's not cheap, having ethics.

If you would like to support a venue that chooses not to do business with misogynists and fascists, please consider contributing to our Patreon.


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