The Killers performed this evening at the Black Sea Arena in Batumi, Georgia, where they drew boos from the crowd for inviting a drummer onstage who happened to be Russian. (For context, the Killers invite crowd members and fans onstage to help perform “For Reasons Unknown.”) Attempting a moment of unity, frontman Brandon Flowers called Russians and Georgians “brothers and sisters,” which caused the crowd the erupt in protest. In addition to the booing, many people reportedly left the show, and the Killers ended their set without saying goodbye. Now, the band have shared an apology on social media. “Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone!,” they wrote.
“We have a longstanding tradition of inviting people to play drums and it seemed from the stage that the initial response from the crowd indicated that they were okay with tonight’s audience participation member coming onstage with us. We recognize that a comment, meant to suggest that all of the Killers’ audience and fans are ‘brothers and sisters’ could be misconstrued. We did not mean to upset anyone and we apologize. We stand with you and hope to return soon.”
There is a long history of tension between Georgia and Russia. Currently, amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there’s been a huge influx of Russian emigrants escaping their own country and settling in the capital city of Tbilisi, which has been polarizing among locals. Likewise, Russia has occupied 20% of Georgia’s territory since invading the country in 2008.
The Killers’ apology is below.