AIDS-Denying Foo Fighters Counter-Protest Westboro Baptists: VIDEO

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When the Westboro clan showed up to picket a Foo Fighters concert in Kansas City, lo, the Foo Fighters themselves pulled up in the back of a truck and gave them a performance of "Keep It Clean," which includes the lyric: 

I've got a hankering for something, think I'm in the mood for some hot man-muffins.

Nice gesture, yes. But let's not forget that the Foo Fighters have vigorously promoted AIDS denialism. Mother Jones reported in 2000

The multimillion-album-selling alternative rock outfit has thrown its weight behind Alive and Well, an "alternative AIDS information group" that denies any link between HIV and AIDS. In January, Foo Fighters bassist Nate Mendel helped organize a sold-out concert in Hollywood to benefit the group.

How many infected people at that Hollywood concert forwent meds? How many ended up dead? It throws the counter-protest into a new relief, doesn't it? On the one side, the church that insists almost everyone on Earth will burn in hell because of the gays. On the other, an alt-rock band that propagandizes for a lethal superstition - that AIDS is akin to the common cold. Clowns to the left, jokers to the right. 


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  1. regardless, i still like their music

    Posted by: jeremy | Sep 18, 2011 12:29:09 PM

  2. Did you just call one of the biggest rock acts of this generation, with almost 20 million albums sold, dozens of sold out arena tours, and Capitol/RCA recording contracts, "indie"? XD Do you know what that word means?

    Posted by: Cole | Sep 18, 2011 12:54:35 PM

  3. @Cole

    That's exactly what I thought as well.

    Posted by: deppy | Sep 18, 2011 12:57:37 PM

  4. Thanks for the feedback. Shoulda said alt-rock for precision. I should add that alt-rock emerged from the indie music scene, and the Foo Fighters didn't exactly sell 20 million albums the moment they debuted. It was started as a quasi-anonymous outfit with a limited album run. Anyway, is that really the most important point?

    Posted by: Penn | Sep 18, 2011 1:07:28 PM

  5. Who cares what the Foo Fighters think? They suck.

    Posted by: Max | Sep 18, 2011 1:13:34 PM

  6. thanks again for a great post.

    Posted by: josh | Sep 18, 2011 1:19:58 PM

  7. Interesting story, since I've never heard that about FF before, but thank you for forming an opinion for us...

    Posted by: Jesus | Sep 18, 2011 1:44:17 PM

  8. I admire the intensity whit which you engage in social justice issues, Penn Bullock. They suggest you have a passionate nature, which is also something I admire.

    It's true to say that FF and Nirvana courted outsider indie status. I remember all the godawful black Levis and plaid shirts and artfully torn sweaters of the early 90's.

    Gimme me New Wave and New Romantics over them any day.

    Posted by: tarraraboomdeeya | Sep 18, 2011 1:55:17 PM

  9. I'd say the most important point is the atrocious journalistic tendency demonstrated in this post. It's a tendency which is transforming this blog from the best and brightest into another example of mainstream media more concerned with sensationalized headlines than accurate reporting. I dread weekend posts with irrelevant commentary and quips distracting from the news from which we try to discern relevance.

    As Jesus himself just said, "Thanks for forming an opinion for us." Did Andy ask you to post news, or run and editorial? No one cares about what you think of it, we just want the story. Maybe for this news blog, consider putting the emphasis on the news aspect instead of the blog. It's getting harder and harder to take this site seriously, especially when Andy isn't posting.

    Posted by: Cole | Sep 18, 2011 2:04:25 PM

  10. Cole: context is the story here... And while it's fun to see anyone tweaking WBC's noses, reminding readers of the FF's advocacy for AIDS denialists provides much needed color and context.

    Imagine reporting Santorum's remarks about gays in Iran without noting his own extreme views...

    And if you're having trouble discerning the 'news' from 'commentary', I suggest not reading blogs... It's obviously too difficult for you.

    Posted by: Mike in Houston | Sep 18, 2011 2:19:15 PM

  11. I think using a quote from 11 years ago is a little suspect. Show me a consistent pattern and I'll care.

    Posted by: Jono | Sep 18, 2011 2:19:41 PM

  12. In any case, it was nice to see the Gerry Rafferty reference.

    Posted by: MajorTom | Sep 18, 2011 2:26:50 PM

  13. Really? An act they did 11 years ago, and that has been off their site and have distanced themselves from since 2007? That's a hard-hitting piece to you?

    Actual HIV/AIDS reporting has enough of a problem with visibility and doesn't need contrived pieces like this muddying the waters. Thanks again for proving this site really is only worth reading Monday thru Friday.

    Posted by: Daniel | Sep 18, 2011 2:27:51 PM

  14. This post is a mixture of reporting newsworthy events and personal editorial. Westboro Baptist picketed Foo Fighters and the band counterattacked by performing on the street in front of the Westboro people. There is no question that the event was newsworthy since Westboro engages in constant anti-gay activism.

    @ Cole: The headline of the post included the phrase "AIDS-denying Foo Fighters". If that's what you meant by "sensationalized headlines", then yes, you have a valid point. Penn Bullock is editorializing here. The Foo Fighters have not supported AIDS denial since 2004, and their website no longer lists Alive and Well as one of the organizations they support. Have the musicians in Foo Fighters completely changed their minds? I don't know, but Penn Bullock didn't include relevant information about Foo Fighters in the editorial part of his post. I still have to give Penn Bullock credit for reporting an event that reasonable people will agree is newsworthy.

    Posted by: Artie | Sep 18, 2011 2:39:31 PM

  15. Foo Fighters contributed songs to "The Other Side of AIDS" a documentary which place the blame for the AIDS epidemic exclusively on homosexual behavior. Enough said.
    Sorry for my english.

    Posted by: calvin | Sep 18, 2011 2:48:29 PM

  16. @ Penn Bullock,

    In my comment above, I'm more than will to give you credit for doing your journalistic duty by reporting newsworthy events. As best I remember, you've also done that in many of your past posts. As some commenters have mentioned, all blogs are a mixture of news and commentary, and I think any intelligent reader can discern one from the other.

    Some other commenters above have offered a suggestion worth considering. When you include commentary, it's ideal to acknowledge the other opinion. In this case, that means mentioning that Foo Fighters haven't supported AIDS denialism since 2004 and no longer mention Alive and Well on their website. On balance, though, your posts are informative.

    Posted by: Artie | Sep 18, 2011 2:52:32 PM

  17. Indie band!?!?!?
    No. RCA (Sony) and Capitol have represented them. And they're entirely alt rock in style. Jesus Christ.

    Posted by: at | Sep 18, 2011 2:55:23 PM

  18. Is that Pat Smear? Isn't he gay? Maybe he just seemed gay on House of Style.

    Posted by: Craig | Sep 18, 2011 3:26:17 PM

  19. Still pretty awesome that they took time to counterprotest the WBC

    Posted by: kieran | Sep 18, 2011 3:30:19 PM

  20. To those who say the Foo Fighters have repudiated AIDS denialism.

    From the Gay Express, 31 August, 2011:

    "Media personality Steven Gray posted the video on his website this morning, calling the band 'The Killers'.

    'They need to publicly apologise for what they did,' he says. 'They got a lot of fan and media attention for an idea that was never proved, is still out there with their names in it, and they have never in the last 11 years set the record ‘straight’ that they were ill-informed.'"

    Also, when they removed the link to the AIDS denialism group Alive and Well from their band website, they made no effort to actually condemn the group.

    If someone can find one statement by the band in which they repudiate their AIDS denialism, I will post that information. The reporting I have read, most recently from two weeks ago, indicates that they have not. And until they do, their past "activism" lends credence to an idea that kills people.

    Posted by: Penn | Sep 18, 2011 3:32:26 PM

  21. Penn, you're right, both in your bringing the point up and in your style generally. Don't listen to the whiners.

    Posted by: Freddie | Sep 18, 2011 5:15:56 PM

  22. And to the whiners: this is a blog. It provides news but the authors are also entitled to provide their opinions.

    If you want strictly news and no commentary, go to a newspaper site---but be sure not to read the editorials, since they might offend your tender sensibilities.

    Posted by: Paul R | Sep 18, 2011 5:59:52 PM

  23. HIV does not cause AIDS. AIDS does exist but it is due to the decline of the immune system through a combination of venereal diseases and drug use. Therefore, I agree with the Foo Fighters.

    Keep in mind that you don't need to have HIV in your body in order to have a damaged immune system. Your immune system can be destroyed independent of HIV.

    Posted by: jason | Sep 18, 2011 6:18:55 PM

  24. Wow, that is not something I'd heard. I'll have to pay closer attention to their political pov. I do know they are pro gay which is one of the things I like about them. The other is their music which is about 100x better than most of the disco crap that is regularly featured here. I can't stand lady blah-blah. Yes, she's pc to a tee, but her music is a disco bore. To me.

    Posted by: dms | Sep 18, 2011 6:21:21 PM

  25. To those upset with Penn's style:

    Do you honestly think a blog about gay issues or about any specific issue could exist without opinions? Towleroad's existence is an opinion, and every post on it is filtered by its writers' opinions. Aggregators show opinion by, if nothing else, posting some things and not others.

    And if you don't want Penn's opinion, imagine how he feels about receiving yours.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Sep 18, 2011 6:22:03 PM

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