Texas Filter Concert Canceled After Plan Display Upside Down American Flag, Anti-Trump Rhetoric

GettyImages-1086451916
A Texas venue canceled a concert for the band Filter after a dispute over the music rock group’s plans to criticize President Donald Trump and to display an upside-down American flag during the show. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

A Texas venue canceled a concert for the band Filter after a dispute over the music rock group's plans to criticize President Donald Trump.

The cancellation of the band's show at the Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday night occurred after the band and personnel from the venue engaged in an argument over the band's plan to display an upside-down American flag during the show.

Karl A. Maahs, general manager at the venue, told Newsweek that the venue canceled the event after Filter's plans to voice political sentiments had prompted people to call and say they would boycott the show. He said a worker had reported receiving a bomb threat.

Maahs said that the show was a free benefit concert, so no fans needed to be refunded, and Filter had been paid up-front for the event.

GettyImages-1086451916
A Texas venue canceled a concert for the band Filter after a dispute over the music rock group’s plans to criticize President Donald Trump and to display an upside-down American flag during the show. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty Images

Maahs did not dispute the band's right to freely express political sentiments but said that didn't mean his venue would help set up graphics of an upside-down flag on their equipment.

When the band's frontman, Richard Patrick, was told this, an argument followed, with Patrick saying it was his show and his free speech. He said the band didn't want to do the show without the political elements.

"You can say whatever you want, but we aren't going to help you turn this into a political rally," Maahs told Newsweek. "We're just trying to entertain people.... It wasn't worth the headache for us."

Maahs drew a distinction between having political lyrics and using the venue for explicitly political advocacy, which he said the band wanted to do.

Patrick posted about the cancellation on Instagram, referencing a video it published earlier in the day along with the caption "This is sound check!! We're Playing El Paso!!! Get Here!!! Later and it will he packed!! A lot of trump bashing! Does anyone know Beto?? Bring Beto!"

This is sound check!! We’re Playing El Paso!!! Get Here!!! Later and it will be packed!! A lot of trump bashing!Does anyone know Beto?? Bring Beto!

"The band was told the venue 'didn't like' the post and that they were getting threatening phone calls and bomb threats from Texans who didn't like it either. The tour manager was in the green room and woke up from a pre-show nap to 30 yellow-shirted security guards and the General Manager shouting expletives and telling the band they were not welcome at the venue. 'The First Amendment does not exist in this Casino. Get the f@*k out,' they said," the post read.

Maahs told Newsweek the post was exaggerated, saying that 30 security guards were not present and would not be used for the room that Filter was playing. He also said that the "get the f**k out" remarks were made in a different context.

View this post on Instagram

FILTER(ED) IN TEXAS Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso, TX, the Tigua Tribe’s Casino / Resort / Music Venue has cancelled tonight’s FILTER show, due to a humorous Facebook post written by vocalist, Richard Patrick, and the band’s plans to use the American flag turned upside down in their background video on stage. The “offending” post, which included a short video of the band soundchecking at the venue: This is sound check!! We’re Playing El Paso!!! Get here later and it will be packed!! A lot of Trump bashing! Does anyone know Beto?? Bring Beto! The band was told the venue “didn’t like” the post and that they were getting threatening phone calls and bomb threats from Texans who didn’t like it either. The tour manager was in the green room and woke up from a pre-show nap to 30 yellow-shirted security guards and the General Manager shouting expletives and telling the band they were not welcome at the venue. "The First Amendment does not exist in this Casino. Get the f@*k out," they said. Management also told Patrick that it was illegal to display the flag upside down in their video. The law to which they might refer is Title 4, US Code “(a) The flag should never be displayed with union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.” Patrick explains “This is a dire emergency! This country is totally jacked up!! This is my right to artistic expression. If they are going to tell me that I am un-American for saying that about the President, I’d ask them if they have been to Iraq or Afghanistan. I have been over there and love and respect the job that our troops are doing over there – fighting to ensure our rights to say what we like. As a matter of fact - I was asked recently what FILTER stands for and THIS IS IT - our freedom of expression!” In addition to the First Amendment, The Texas Constitution, in Article I, sections 8 and 27 protects the “liberty to speak, write or publish … opinions on any subject.” You have the right to express your views in these ways regardless of how unpopular or controversial they may be. #freespeech #america #GOP #filter2019 #reBus

A post shared by Richard Patrick (@filter_richard_patrick) on

The venue manager said he had been talking with Filter's production manager after the dispute about the flag when an argument began. He said the production manager was initially apologetic but then another dispute occurred. Maahs told the band representative to take their gear and "get the f**k out." Patrick was not present when the remark was made, Maahs said.

Filter did not immediately respond when contacted by Newsweek.