FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Zoltan Bathory has denied the band's new music video has an anti-mask message.
Late last night (Thursday, October 15), FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH released the official clip for "Living the Dream", a song off the group's latest album, "F8". Almost immediately, the Las Vegas-based metallers were accused of taking an anti-mask stance with the video, which includes a scene where mask-wearers are given a button that says "Compliant" and features the hammer-and-sickle logo often associated with communism. The female political figure handing out the buttons, meanwhile, doesn't have to wear a mask, as her button reads "Exempt". There are also zombies hoarding toilet paper, and gimps who are walked on a chain by the "Exempt" leader. The American flag can be seen later seen in the video with the stars replaced by the hammer-and-sickle logo.
Earlier tonight (Friday, October 16), Bathory released a statement via his Facebook page in which he shot down criticism of the video's supposed "anti-mask" message, insisting that the clip portrays "a fictional story" based on "a dystopian nightmare of one of the founding fathers," and explaining that the video is meant to highlight "hypocrisy on the highest level."
Zoltan wrote: "As much as some *news sites* used 'anti-mask' as a clickbait title (And I must applaud the capitalist in them or I myself would be a hypocrite) Let's make this crystal clear: In a fictional story, Amongst shopping cart zombies, Tide Pod eating fat superheroes and all the other metaphors, why would anyone think the mask scene isn't one.
"The scene in question is not about the masks... it's NOT an Anti-Mask message... in fact you can go to FiveFingerDeathPunch.com right now and buy some cool ones...
"If I must explain this, the whole video is in the frame work of fiction, a dystopian nightmare of one of the founding fathers - right before he signs the constitution.
"Just as I prefaced it: We as artists, have a unique opportunity to portray and ridicule the absurd to prevent it from *becoming* reality.
"The mask segments are about hypocrisy on the highest level. When the rules are made for you but those who made them are exempt. Pretty much the standard in all dictatorships and totalitarian regimes (I had the displeasure of growing up in one) hence the reference.
"I often say, ask us!!! The immigrants... the Cubans, the Venezuelans, the North Koreans, anyone from the former Soviet block... Talk to us and we will tell you .... WE were lucky, because we had a place to escape to. We are fortunate that we could come here.... but If America is gone, where will you go? We immigrants also remember how our freedom slipped away, how our rights were ripped from us, how we were kept under the thumb and in fear of our own governments. So maybe, just maybe... we have valuable experience we can tell you about, we can forewarn you of the things we have seen before.
"So We the people must do everything in our power to stay free as a society. We must prevent the rise of tyranny in all shapes and forms, we must resist the would be dictators and the totalitarian ideals. This is what the founding fathers worried about and tried to prevent by creating the constitution.
"Believe it. America is a miracle, and I LOVE this country... and I will never shut up about it.
"Anyway - not anti mask - and If you reduced this entire video to that scene and missed the metaphor behind it ... Well... the good news is - It is STILL America so you have the right to have and even print your own opinion."
Mask wearing has been a hot-button issue in the U.S. as lawmakers continue to push for their constituents to wear face coverings to limit the spread of coronavirus. Months after his own advisers recommended it, President Donald Trump finally wore a mask in public for the first time in July during a visit to wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
This past summer, the U.S. Surgeon General urged people to wear face coverings, saying they will promote freedom during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a study published in June, researchers from Texas A&M University, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California San Diego, concluded "that wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission."
Earlier this week, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH confirmed that it officially parted ways with guitarist Jason Hook back in February 2020, during the band's sold-out European arena tour. He has since been replaced by renowned British virtuoso Andy James, who is also featured on "Broken World", one of the five previously unreleased tracks on FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's latest greatest-hits collection, "Decade Of Destruction, Volume 2".
As much as some *news sites* used “anti-mask” as a clickbait title (And I must applaud the capitalist in them or I...