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Music festival boss apologises after ‘black up and carry a banner’ comments

PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:20 09 June 2020

Brian Rix, managing director of the Caister Soul Weekender, has apologised for 'inappropriate' comments about the Black Lives Matters demonstrations. Picture: Facebook.

Brian Rix, managing director of the Caister Soul Weekender, has apologised for 'inappropriate' comments about the Black Lives Matters demonstrations. Picture: Facebook.

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A man who runs the biggest soul music event in the UK has apologised after posting “inappropriate” comments about the Black Lives Matters demonstrations that took place over the weekend.

Black Lives Matter protest at The Forum in Norwich on Sunday, June 7, 2020. Picture: Eloise RayBlack Lives Matter protest at The Forum in Norwich on Sunday, June 7, 2020. Picture: Eloise Ray

Brian Rix, director of the Caister Soul Weekender, landed himself in controversy on Sunday (June 7) when he made a comment on Facebook stating he could “black up and carry a banner” to go where he wanted.

The full comment, which he later deleted and said was “wrong”, read: “None of those people marching and demonstrating across the UK today seemed bothered about instructions for coronavirus. Hopefully natural selection takes over.

“Police didn’t arrest them or fine them. Perhaps I should black up and carry a banner to go where I want LOL. I want to protest peacefully about my favourite restaurant being closed.”

Before being removed the comment was seen by a range of people including English soul musician Beverley Knight, who said it had been shared by “enraged friends in the music industry”.

Black Lives Matter protest at The Forum in Norwich on Sunday, June 7, 2020. Picture: Eloise RayBlack Lives Matter protest at The Forum in Norwich on Sunday, June 7, 2020. Picture: Eloise Ray

On social media she said: “This is a spit in the face for those artists, and anyone who has ever attended his events without bigotry and racism in their heart.

“Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No.

“At a time when so many wonderful people have stepped up to be an ally in the fight against systemic racism, you find those among your number who you thought would stand with you, but in reality cannot stand the sight of you.

Loving the culture, and hating the creators of it,” she said.

Protesters take a knee at the Black Lives Matter protest in Eaton Park, Norwich, on Sunday, June 7. Picture: Anush Rajagopal GaneshProtesters take a knee at the Black Lives Matter protest in Eaton Park, Norwich, on Sunday, June 7. Picture: Anush Rajagopal Ganesh

MORE: Crowds gather for Black Lives Matter protest in Norwich

Mr Rix has since published an apology on his own Facebook page, where he stated he had a “very dark sense of humour”.

He admitted his comment - and a meme he shared last week - had caused “upset and controversy”.

“I fully accept my comments were inappropriate, wrong and I deeply regret being so stupid and if I caused offence. It was never my intention to upset or offend anyone, it was just very ill judged and a big mistake by myself.

“Any anger and offence caused as a result of my comments has caused embarrassment to people who work for me and the business I represent,” he added.

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Mr Rix and Caister Soul Weekender have been approached for comment.

The weekender, running since 1979, has been described as the UK’s leading soul music event.


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