Russian lawmakers call to probe flag stunt by US rock band Bloodhound Gang

Bassist Jared Hasselhoff of the American rock group Bloodhound Gang is seen pulling out the Russian white-blue-red tricolour flag from the back of his pants during a concert in the city of Odessa July 31, 2013, in this still image taken from amateur
Bassist Jared Hasselhoff of the American rock group Bloodhound Gang is seen pulling out the Russian white-blue-red tricolour flag from the back of his pants during a concert in the city of Odessa July 31, 2013, in this still image taken from amateur video. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian lawmakers called on Sunday for an American rock band to be barred from the country after its bass player put a Russian flag in his trousers during a concert in Ukraine.

The band Bloodhound Gang was turned away on Saturday when they arrived to perform in the popular Kubana festival in the Black Sea town of Anapa amid an outcry caused by the stunt.

At the concert earlier across the Black Sea in Odessa, Ukraine, the bassist stuffed a Russian flag into the front of his trousers, then pulled it out from the back. "Don't tell Putin," he told the audience, before throwing the flag from the stage.

Although the musician apologised for the stunt, pro-Kremlin lawmakers said on Sunday that the group should be banned from ever coming to Russia again and darkly hinting at a conspiracy.

"There are some questions regarding who invited them to Russia, who organised their concerts, gave them the stage, and paid them," said the deputy speaker of the Russian parliament Sergei Neverov.

"Whose orders was this group carrying out?" he asked, demanding an investigation and saying the Russian organisers should be held accountable.

"All the members of this group should be banned from Russia along with their relatives," said Andrei Isayev, another top politician in the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

The group was barred from taking part in the festival in Anapa.

"These idiots won't be performing," Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said on his blog, while other officials said the group should be prosecuted for flag desecration.

"They should have been jailed for such antics," wrote regional governor Alexander Tkachev on his Twitter account.

The band flew out of Russia late Saturday after pro-Kremlin youths threw eggs at them and a group of men wearing T-shirts emblazoned with "Kuban Cossack Army", an ultraconservative group, reportedly assaulted them at the airport.

State television said on Sunday that the group can still face criminal charges in Russia, but prosecutors said they have yet to receive case materials from the police.