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Friday, October 27, 2017

Death from Above embroiled in Proud Boys controversy

For the second time this week, a successful Toronto band is making headlines linked to widespread topical controversy in the U.S.

Death from Above bassist Jesse F. Keeler was accused in a blog post yesterday of having connections to the alt-right movement via his friendship with Vice co-founder and outspoken right-wing pundit, Gavin McInnes.

"Why does DFA and Jesse Keeler get a pass from the music press and community about his blatant and obvious ties to Gavin McInnes, The Proud Boys and The Alt Right?" reads the Medium post, which was published under the name Kurt Schwitterz.

The blogger highlighted a now-deleted online news article in which McInness claimed Keeler was one of his 'Proud Boys' – a men's only far-right organization known for being "pro-West" and "pro-Trump," among other things.

He also makes note of Keeler's appearances on The Gavin McInnes Podcast and their alleged personal friendship.

Keeler, who co-founded the rock duo DFA with drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger in 2004, denied the allegations in a lengthy Facebook post early Friday morning amidst a torrent of hateful tweets.

"This is completely false. I would never join that group," wrote Keeler of the Proud Boys. "My connection to Gavin however is real, but begs to be clarified."

Keeler says he met Gavin way back in 2003 when his band was signed to Vice's U.S. record label, but that they were only ever "loosely acquainted."

"Soon after the election, I began noticing that Gavin was promoting violence and a form of radical politics that I absolutely do not agree with," he continued. "I have always been anti-war and anti-violence. That is my baseline position."

The musician notes that he was "raised in Canada by my immigrant-Indian family who struggled to make it in a new country."

"I am so sorry for putting my family, friends and fans in this position," he said. I never wanted to talk about politics, I just wanted to make music and leave that stuff alone. Unfortunately, my actions have brought me here, and I am deeply heartbroken about it."

You can read Keeler's full statement on Death From Above's Facebook page right here.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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