Four of the five members of the long-running punk band Screeching Weasel have announced their departure from the group following lead singer Ben "Weasel" Foster's violent antics on stage at the SXSW festival. According to reports and footage (see below) shot at the band's performance at the Scoot Inn on Friday, Foster hit one woman after she sprayed him with some liquid and struck another woman who tried to break up the fight. He spent the rest of the band's set complaining about the festival and music journalists.
In an open letter published by PunkNews.org, the other four members of Screeching Weasel stated that "the un-calculated act put forth by Ben Foster leading up to and including the violence that erupted on stage is seen by the band as shameful and embarrassing" and insisted that his behavior is not a reflection of their personal views. They concluded by announcing that they could no longer "muster the dignity to attempt a live performance as 'Screeching Weasel' in the foreseeable future."
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Despite the significant change in personnel, Screeching Weasel is likely to carry on with new members. Foster has been the group's sole constant member since the project began in 1986, and the four departing members only recently joined up to write and record the band's most recent album First World Manifesto.