Canadian singer Bryan Adams has apologized after being accused of anti-Chinese racism over a profanity-filled tirade on Instagram in which he blamed “bat-eating” and “virus-making” people for the coronavirus.
“Thanks to some f—ing bat-eating, wet market animal-selling, virus-making greedy bastards, the whole world is now on hold,” Adams wrote in his rant. “My message to them other than ‘thanks a f—ing lot’ is go vegan.”
Adams (or whoever manages his social accounts) appears to have edited the post at some point to acknowledge “the thousands that have suffered or died from the virus.” A duplicate posted to Twitter has since been removed, although many users captured images of it before it disappeared.
The singer apologized in a statement posted on Instagram Tuesday morning.
“Apologies to any and all that took offence to my posting yesterday,” he wrote. “No excuse. I just wanted to have a rant about the horrible animal cruelty in these wet-markets being the possible source of the virus, and promote veganism.”
He added that he has “love for all people.”
He did not address the “virus-making greedy bastards” element of his initial statement.
Adams says he was supposed to start a tenancy at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Monday, and he was lamenting the cancellation due to COVID-19.
“Cuts like a knife,” he wrote in the initial post, which showed him singing at home.
Critics responded by telling him that racist remarks cut even deeper than missing your singing gig.
“Bryan Adams’ racist xenophobic tirade has been up for 10 hours now,” Wing Kar Li tweeted on Monday night. “Damage has been done.”
“Come on, man,” wrote Canadian actor Simu Liu on Twitter. “What is this?”
University of Alberta professor Timothy Caulfield, who specializes in health research, blasted Adams’ tweet as “angry, stigmatizing, hate-baiting” and “scientifically wonky.”
“I get that people are frustrated, but this kind of aggressive messaging from an influencer helps no one,” he wrote.
Caulfield appeared to touch on the contradictions in Adams’ rage-fuelled rant.
The prevailing scientific theory is that the coronavirus emerged from nature and may have passed to humans through one of China’s wet markets, either through consumption of a bat or another intermediary species. However, Adams appeared to simultaneously push another, unfounded theory that China created the virus in a lab and is somehow profiting off of it.
Although many have accused Adams of racism, a number of right-leaning people have come to his defence.
“Can someone tell me why what Bryan Adams said was wrong and racist?” one user asked on Twitter, echoing the sentiment from many others who claimed that Adams was “just telling it like it is.”
In addition to his sweeping, contradictory claims about a broad group of people, Adams also referred to them as “f—ing … bastards,” an obvious insult.
Although many of Adams’ defenders appeared to come from the far right, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also backed his initial rant for promoting veganism.
“This is why it’s crucial for everyone to go vegan now to prevent the next pandemic,” PETA wrote on Instagram in response to Adams’ post. “It’s up to us to create a kinder, healthier future for all species.”
PETA has been railing against China’s wet markets throughout the pandemic, and has also been urging people to go vegan because of it. Adams has been an outspoken proponent for PETA and veganism for many years.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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