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Lionfight Bassist Kicked Out of Band After Racist Facebook Rant on Freddie Gray
Lionfight, a Chicago rock/metalcore band, has come under fire after bassist Bryan Patrick Cole wrote a long post on Facebook about how Freddie Gray and Michael Brown both "probably deserved it," regarding their deaths at the hands of police. He referred to Baltimore protestors as "rioting monkeys," who "collect welfare and buy/sell drugs."
See his full statement below:
When there was backlash to his initial post, Cole responded by saying, again on Facebook, that "It's a sad world we live in... Freedom of speech is dead."
Lionfight decided to fire Cole, and explained why in (another) Facebook post:
"Today an ex band member of lionfight decided on his own to say some really shocking and racist remarks on his personal page. Not only did he offend many, including the other band members, he set back the social clock greatly by his ignorant remarks. We say ex because we cannot have that mindset and mouthpiece be a representative of us personally or what we've worked so damn hard for. Bryan will no longer be playing music with us. We love him like a brother and we will always be there to pick him up when he falls but we cannot move forward with him being a part of this. He made a really bad decision today and hopefully one day he will earn the forgiveness of each and every one of you, including ourselves.
"As for lionfight, even though it was one band member with these opinions, the entire band took a major blow today. He was a part of lionfight and therefore the band was guilty by association. The lionfight name was all over the press today in a very disgusting light that DOES NOT accurately represent us personally or professionally. Regardless, something like this isn't easily repaired. It may not even be repairable at all. It's crazy to think how one moment can literally flip your world upside down. We apologize that this formal statement took us a while to post but it has taken us this long to even begin to gather our thoughts on what has happened today."
Cole ultimately apologized (still...on Facebook), insisting he is "not a racist:"
"No matter what happens with me or lionfight, I want to say how sorry I am about my post about Baltimore. I spoke completely out of anger an frustration and I never meant for my words to be read in that way. I was angry about the destruction of a city that I've always wanted to visit and I have NO HATE against any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
"You don't have to believe me but if I was a racist, I wouldn't have been so sick to my stomach to the thought that people actually think of me as a hurtful, judgemental person.
"I would love if anyone wanted to talk to me about any concerns they have, but I assure uo again that I am not racist and that I made a HUGE mistake... And as we all make mistakes, I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive me for my selfish idiotic actions.
"I believe in peace among ALL humans, and I hope that we can get passed this and understand that I never meant to act like such a fool. I'm so so sorry."