Pearl Jam is receiving widespread backlash this week over an official poster promoting a show in Missoula, Montana. The poster featured President Donald Trump lying dead near a burning White House, drawing controversy from Republicans and Conservatives across the country.
According to Sputnik News, the artwork was a collaborative effort by the band’s Jeff Ament and artist Bobby Draws Skulls. The poster also shows U.S. Senator Jon Tester flying over the flaming White House on a tractor, with a bit of an apocalyptic feel to the scene.
The Poster Was Released in Support of Tester & to Raise Voting Awareness
In addition to the poster, the band also shared an image of an early sketch for it, with the caption: “Y’all know the deal. We’re at a tipping point and it’s time for action. Jon Tester is the real deal and nobody cares more about our country and especially Montana,” a message from Ament on the drawing reads.
The poster was released shortly before the band’s Monday show and done “in support of Tester, a Democrat serving the Treasure State who is seeking his third term in the US Senate,” Pitchfork reported.
Chris Meagher, a spokesman for Tester, said the campaign purchased tickets at face value and paired them with tickets to a separate event as a “means to raise money for Tester’s race against Matt Rosendale, the state auditor, who has the active support of Trump,” the Washington Post reports.
The Poster Has Drawn Harsh Lashback & Criticism From Fans & Politicians
The poster has drawn significant criticism, especially from the right. Tester’s Republican opponent, Matt Rosendale, released a statement on Tuesday, calling the work “disgusting.”
“This poster from Pearl Jam is disgusting and reprehensible,” Rosendale said. “It depicts a dead President Trump and a burning White House. It’s time for Jon Tester to denounce this act of violence and blatant display of extremism!”
“In a state Trump won by 20 points, Senator Tester’s silence . . . is quickly showing Montanans there’s no stoop too low for him when it comes to attacking President Trump and his supporters,” Calvin Moore, a spokesman for the National Republican Senate Committee, said in a statement Wednesday, two days after the concert.
Hours after Moore’s statement was realeased, Meagher said the campaign did not help design the poster and did not approve of it.
“We never saw the poster before the show, and we don’t like it,” Meagher said. “And we don’t condone violence of any kind. Period.”
Many Pearl Jam fans have expressed shock and disappointment at the poster, and several have vowed to boycott future shows and albums.
“Used to be one of my favorite band and I always knew you guys were a little far left, but this takes it to a whole new level,” one commenter wrote. “I never realized you supported hatred and violence, always thought you were about love and peace. I have no problem with a difference of opinion, but this is disgusting.”
Twitter user John Watson wrote: “So disappointed with this. It’s almost impossible to go a week without listening to your music but that all ends tonight. This is pathetic and I choose America and MY President over you. Should have stuck to music. Sickening. As many have said, that’s it for me, no longer a fan.”
Many fans attacked the band on the Instagram post featuring the poster as well.
The poster debacle comes less than a month after the band allowed the Trump baby inflatable to be flown outside at their London show at the O2 arena in July. Sputnik News reports that, during the concert, singer Eddie Vedder addressed the Trump administration, saying that the president was “bringing people together in a great way.”
“When you get 250,000 protestors of all ages, cultures, different sexual orientations… you know, maybe he’s uniting people in a way that could be needed in the near future,” entertainment website NME quoted Vedder saying.