Former Members of Agalloch Condemn John Haughm over Anti-Semitic Comment, Pillorian Guitarist and Drummer Quit Band
Former Agalloch/current Pillorian frontman John Haughm has found himself at the center of controversy as the result of anti-Semitic comments the guitarist/vocalist made on social media.
The problem began, oddly enough, as a result of the death of the German actor Bruno Ganz, who passed away earlier this month at age 77. Although Ganz was famous for many roles, in the post-YouTube era, he has become best known for playing Adolf Hitler in the 2004 movie Downfall. Despite being nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Downfall has become almost as famous for spawning a meme as it has for the movie itself. You know the one — a scene from the film where Hitler is upset that he’s losing the war has been re-subtitled so it appears as though the genocidal dictator is mad about whatever insignificant issue. For example…
After Ganz died, Haughm posted a completely innocuous tribute to the actor on Facebook.
Several of Haughm’s followers then left their own odes to Ganz, also innocently praising the actor’s talents… and then Haughm decided it was a good idea to post the following, which he went back and edited twice for clarity before settling on the final version at the bottom:
Juden, in case you don’t know, is German for “Jews.” The implication, of course, is that Facebook has been blocking tributes to Ganz simply because he played Hitler once and the company was founded by a Jewish man. (And, incidentally, even if you disregard Haughm’s vile language, his claim is unsubstantiated — I can’t find any other record online of Facebook having allegedly blocked posts about Ganz.)
Drummer Aesop Dekker, Haughm’s former bandmate in Agalloch, soon took to social media to condemn Haughm as a “a tiny edgelord” and a “troll.” Former Agalloch guitarist Don Anderson also released a statement, condemning Haughm’s comments on behalf of all the band’s former members:
“We—Jason [Walton], Aesop, and myself—are deeply disappointed to learn that our former bandmate John Haughm has made an anti-Semitic comment on his Facebook page. We vehemently condemn our former bandmate and want to make it clear that none of us share his reprehensible viewpoints. We have not had any direct contact with him since the breakup nearly 3 years ago (aside from Don who handles the business side of things with him). We are not friends. More importantly, he is NOT Agalloch. Please feel free to share.”
…a band that is now in need of a new band. Guitarist Stephen Parker (Maestus) has quit the group while also castigating Haughm (although, rather oddly, not by name)…
“As of this writing, I will no longer be performing or involved with Pillorian. In light of recent events, I feel it’s best for me personally, professionally, and creatively to go in a separate direction. The personal views reflected by other musicians I may have worked with are not my own views; I don’t take any sort of racist speech lightly. I feel endless gratitude for those who have supported my endeavors with Pillorian by coming to shows, picking up merch, or streaming the album.”
Haughm, for his part, has not released any additional statement. His personal Facebook page, however, has either been made private or taken down altogether.