Band Aid organizer Bob Geldof has two words for critics of his supergroup’s hit, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”: “Fuck off.” The singer-songwriter and activist recently revived the song with a new incarnation of the charity-minded ensemble, newly dubbed Band Aid 30, to raise money to help fight Ebola in West Africa.
When The Telegraph asked Geldof how he felt about statements made by Ebola survivor William Pooley, who contended that the lyrics were ignorant and “cringe-worthy,” the singer said, “Please, it’s a pop song. Relax…It’s not a doctoral thesis. They can fuck off.” He also shrugged off criticisms by Emeli Sandé, who participated in Band Aid 30, and in hindsight said she wished the lyrics were different.
“They’re more than welcome to be offended by me,” Geldof said. “I couldn’t give a toss. Seriously, I’m the wrong guy. The reality behind the pop song – Christmassy, corny, whatever you think about it – the reality behind it is stark. If it’s a pop song that can help ease the pain, the agony, if they can die with a little more dignity then, yeah, I’m there. It’s pretty simple.”
Geldof told The Telegraph that Band Aid 30 has so far sold nearly a million copies of the single since it came out in November. The organization has raised more than £1.5 million (more than $2.3 million) so far, he said.
Geldof has previously said that he hopes to raise about £5 million ($7.8 million) by Christmas with the single. To spark interest, Band Aid 30 has masterminded an “Ice Bucket Challenge”–like viral campaign using an iOS app called WholeWorldBand, which allows users to record video of themselves and share it online. For every fan who films themselves singing Bono’s lyrics in “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with the app, the organization will receive a £1.40 ($2.20) donation.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” co-writer Midge Ure recently told Rolling Stone he hopes some of the younger participants in Band Aid 30 – which includes Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, Seal and many others – inspire fans to purchase the song so the money goes to charity. “All we can do is hope that Ed Sheeran and One Direction and everyone else plead with the fans not to stream this [and] not to download this for free,” he said.