Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes has apologized following controversial comments he made suggesting that the security staff at Paris’ Bataclan had prior knowledge of the November 13th terror attack that left 89 people at the venue dead. “My suggestions that anyone affiliated with the Bataclan played a role in the events of November 13 are unfounded and baseless—and I take full responsibility for them,” Hughes said in a statement Friday.
“I humbly beg forgiveness from the people of France, the staff and security of the Bataclan, my fans, family, friends and anyone else hurt or offended by the absurd accusations I made in my Fox Business Channel interview,” Hughes said of his initial comments. “They do not reflect opinions of my bandmates or anyone associated with Eagles of Death Metal. The shame is 100% mine.”
Hughes added that he’s been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from the tragedy, which also took the life of the band’s merch manager Nick Alexander. “I’ve been dealing with non-stop nightmares and struggling through therapy to make sense of this tragedy and insanity,” Hughes said. “I haven’t been myself since November 13. I realize there’s no excuse for my words, but for what it’s worth: I am sincerely sorry for having hurt, disrespected or accused anyone.”
In Hughes’ interview with Fox Business Channel’s Kennedy, the singer said he had a feeling something was off at the venue on November 13th when he arrived and a backstage security guard wouldn’t look at him. “I immediately went to the promoter and said, ‘Who’s that guy? I want to put another dude on,'” Hughes claimed. “And he goes, ‘Well some of the other guards aren’t here yet,’ and eventually I found out that six or so wouldn’t show up at all.”
Hughes kept his security guard theory to himself “out of respect for the police investigating,” however he added of the absent security staff, “It seems rather obvious that they had a reason not to show up.”
On Friday morning, a representative for the Bataclan roundly denied Hughes’ claims. “Jesse Hughes spread some very grave and defamatory accusations against the Bataclan teams,” a rep for the venue said in a statement. “A judicial investigation is undergoing. We wish to let justice proceed serenely. All the testimonies gathered to this day demonstrate the professionalism and courage of the security agents who were on the ground on November 13. Hundreds of people were saved thanks to (these agents’) intervention.”
The Eagles of Death Metal singer’s insinuations about the Bataclan security staff come after he slammed France’s strict gun control laws for contributing to the Paris terror attacks. “Did your French gun control stop a single person from dying at the Bataclan?” Hughes asked in an interview with French TV channel, iTélé. “If anyone can answer yes, I’d like to hear it, because I don’t think so. I think the only thing that stopped it was some of the bravest men that I’ve ever seen in my life charging head-first into the face of death with their firearms.”
Eagles of Death Metal recently postponed the remainder of their Nos Amis European tour – which was made up of shows that the band initially delayed following the Paris attacks – after Hughes suffered a hand injury.