LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The frontman for the US rock band caught up in the 2015 jihadist attacks in Paris was berated on Monday (March 26) for an online rant accusing teenagers in the March For Our Lives anti-gun protests of treason.
The nationwide demonstrations in the United States on Saturday were by far the largest in nearly two decades, part of a reignited gun control debate sparked by last month's killings at a Florida high school.
But Eagles Of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes said the Parkland school massacre survivors were capitalising on classmates' deaths to take time off, singling out activist Emma Gonzalez in particular as a "liar". The singer, known for his offensive rhetoric since the November 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall and other venues, posted five times on gun control and the march on Instagram over the weekend.
Hughes, 45, who was onstage as the Bataclan attack unfolded, accuses the Parkland survivors of taking "multiple days off of school playing hooky at the expense of 16 of your classmates blood". In fact, 14 of the 17 victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in southern Florida were students, while the others were adult members of staff.
"As the survivor of a mass shooting I can tell you from first-hand experience that all of you protesting and taking days off from school insult the memory of those who were killed and abuse and insult me and every other lover of liberty by your every action," he ranted.
He also shared a faked image of Gonzalez appearing to rip up a copy of the US Constitution, referring to her as "the awful face of treason", and a "survivor of nothing."
Hughes, a rare right-wing rocker and outspoken supporter of US President Donald Trump, also shared a photograph with a caption describing the protests as "the actions of these misguided youth and evil communists". AFP reached out to Hughes's management but there was no immediate response.
France marked two years in November since its worst ever terror attacks, when jihadists killed 130 people in Paris and injured hundreds of others.
Jihadist gunmen and suicide bombers targeted the national stadium as well as bars, restaurants and the Bataclan concert hall, where 90 were gunned down and blown up during Hughes' gig.
The band initially enjoyed wide sympathy but Hughes' provocative remarks led to two leading French festivals cancelling appearances in the summer of 2016.
The singer was also turned away from the Bataclan when it reopened in 2016 for suggesting that the security guards were in on the attack, and that Muslims had celebrated outside the hall during the siege.
His latest comments sparked a backlash on Twitter, where outraged fans called for his music to be boycotted, one describing him as "a deluded redneck and should not, under any circumstances, be taken seriously".