American Express disowns Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters because of pro-Palestinian views (Updated)

US Politics
on 17 Comments

When it comes to aiding Israeli Apartheid, American Express is just another brick in The Wall, according to a new report.

Roger Waters, lead singer behind Pink Floyd, lost a multimillion dollar American Express sponsorship for his 2017 US+Them tour after expressing solidarity this month with Palestinian students trying to end Israel’s apartheid system of military occupation using the same protest tactic that helped dismantle South African Apartheid (and, earlier, America’s Jim Crow): Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS.

“I’m going to send out all of my most heartfelt love and support to all those young people on the campuses of the universities of California who are standing up for their brothers and sisters in Palestine and supporting the BDS movement,” Rogers said, according to CBS News, “in the hope that we may encourage the government of Israel to end the occupation.”

American Express decided it would be a good idea to leak the cancellation of the contract to the New York Post, where Page Six’s Emily Smith has the exclusive story.

“Roger is putting on a huge show. The company was asked to sponsor his tour for $4 million, but pulled out because it did not want to be part of his anti-Israel rhetoric,” an American Express spokesman told the paper. “We never committed to sponsoring Roger Waters’ upcoming tour. When we were approached with the options, we passed on making a bid.”

American Express had helped sponsor Waters’ Oldchella Desert Trip festival (Coachella for the senior set featuring Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and the Rolling Stones) where he made the comments expressing support for human rights. But without anybody even asking them, American Express decided it had to go out of its way to bash Waters for “putting on a huge show.”

Noteworthy about American Express’s decision is that it comes even as Waters included more mainstream political views, like featuring in the performance a line of children wearing shirts that said “Derriba el muro,” (Tear down the wall). He also showed Trump in a Klan outfit, and the show featured a floating pig balloon that calls the Republican candidate an “Ignorant, lying, racist, sexist pig,” CBS reported.

Waters more mainstream kinds of leftist protest didn’t make up for his audacious display of solidarity with his fellow human beings living and dying under a ceaseless occupation. American Express has also sponsored Beyonce’s performances, where she has used art to make reference to police oppression of communities of color. But AmEx lost its nerve when Waters brought up Palestinian rights.

According to the New York Post, Waters has known that there are consequences for standing up against the occupation, and that keeps others silent.

“I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years. My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel] . . . I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s – – tless. If they say something in public, they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed,” he said, according to the Post.

But Waters is already famous, and 75, so the stakes aren’t the same as for young artists.

Update (11/1/16)

This article originally quoted the New York Post as saying that Citi had assumed sponsorship of the tour after American Express dropped out, but after publication a representative of Citi contacted us with this clarification:

In your article “American Express disowns Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters because of pro-Palestinian views”, it mentions that “Citibank grabbed the opportunity to sponsor one of the biggest and best acts of the 20th century.”

However, Citi is not a sponsor of Roger Waters’ upcoming tour. Two weeks ago, Citi offered a limited time pre-sale of tickets for cardmembers for select shows, as we do for thousands of concerts by different artists every year. The pre-sale has ended and we have no plans to work with this artist in the future.

About Wilson Dizard

Wilson Dizard is a freelance reporter and photojournalist covering politics, civil rights, drug policy and everything else. He lives in Brooklyn with his bicycle, camera and drum set.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

17 Responses

  1. Talkback
    October 28, 2016, 6:05 pm

    “My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel] . . . I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s – – tless. If they say something in public, they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed,” he said, according to the Post.”

    I hope Julia Ioffe doesn’t read this. This is sooo not being an underdog and persecuted minority that it will break her heart.

  2. JWalters
    October 28, 2016, 6:59 pm

    “American Express” appears to be a pseudonym for “Israeli Express”. Not unusual in the banking world to fly a false flag (or 2, or 3).

    My thanks to Roger Waters for his courage and leadership in standing up for the facts, for freedom of speech, and thereby for democracy.

    • Cazador
      October 29, 2016, 10:27 pm

      Totally agreed for the thanks.

      But for the false flags, take your highest number and multiply it by 100, and you’ll be closer to the reality of the US empire’s boring, repetitious false flag use. That boring, repetitious technique is illegal, criminal, and will one day be judged by the whole world, once the empire will have at last fallen and crumbled, to the contentment of the great majority of the world’s other countries.

  3. amigo
    October 29, 2016, 6:27 am

    I doubt that the great Roger Waters is overly put out by this action.

  4. mariapalestina
    October 29, 2016, 8:11 am

    The only reason I had an American Express card was because it used to be the only card accepted by Costco. Since Costco has switched to VISA I’m happy to write American Express and tell them where to shove their card, and why. I hope others will do the same.

    • pianoteacher
      October 29, 2016, 2:47 pm

      Yes. Just made an order on internet with VISA! And will be ordering a Citibank card and let them know why.

    • genesto
      October 29, 2016, 3:06 pm

      Have despised Citibank, for both corporate and personal reasons, and am skeptical about its sponsoring Roger’s tour. But, if it goes through, I’ll support Citibank while not having anything to do with American Express.

  5. amigo
    October 29, 2016, 8:13 am

    Roger Waters is an inspiration to us all.

  6. captADKer
    October 29, 2016, 9:46 am

    this might be somewhat off topic although that may not necessarily be the case either. can anyone out there, as a propal bds’r offer an update to roger’s recent engagement to the secular palestinian intellectual rula jubreal?

  7. captADKer
    October 29, 2016, 9:47 am

    this might be somewhat off topic although that may not necessarily be the case either. can anyone out there, as a propal bds’r offer an update to roger’s recent engagement to the secular palestinian intellectual rula jubreal?

  8. pianoteacher
    October 29, 2016, 11:07 am

    Wow! Thank you for this. We will be taking out a Citi bank card.

  9. pianoteacher
    October 29, 2016, 3:13 pm

    Just tweeted this:
    [email protected] losing its prestige after dumping sponsorship of [email protected] because of his Pro-Palestine views. Tide is turning!

    Several others done similar tweets. Come and join us everyone!

  10. InTruth
    November 2, 2016, 6:56 am

    AmEx is of course just a bank, though perhaps a powerful one. In Canada it carries a particular negative memory: Reagan’s ambassador to Canada was a former AmEx exec who bullied the pathetic Conservative government of Brian Mulroney into giving the store away in negotiating the first Free Trade Agreement (i.e., before NAFTA) around 1987. Not that the American people won, of course; typical of such deals, only big corporations did. AmEx, for example, was allowed to open the first foreign-owned bank in Canada.

  11. chrisjj
    February 5, 2017, 7:42 pm

    My wife and I just canceled our Traditional Gold Cards today, after 25 years a member. We also wrote a letter to their Consumer Relations department confirming the cancellation and explaining our reason, quoting some of this article.

  12. RoHa
    February 5, 2017, 10:05 pm

    American Express still exists?

Leave a Reply