The Killers Apologize for Bringing Russian Fan on Stage in Georgia and Saying They're All "Brothers"

"You can't recognize that someone's your brother?" Brandon Flowers asked the crowd in the country Russia invaded in 2008

Photo: Thornton Drury

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Aug 16, 2023

Amid a tour behind 2021's Pressure Machine, the Killers performed at the Black Sea Arena in Batumi, Georgia, last night (August 15). As they typically do, the band invited a fan to come up on stage and play drums on "For Reasons Unknown" from 2006's Sam's Town. This particular fan revealed that he was from Russia, the country that invaded Georgia in 2008 and still occupies 20 percent of it.

"We don't know the etiquette of this land but this guy's a Russian," frontman Brandon Flowers told the audience in fan video footage, drawing boos. "You okay with a Russian coming up here?"

It seems that they were not, but that didn't stop Flowers from attempting to have a "We Are the World" moment of Georgian–Russian solidarity by referring to everyone as "brothers." 

"You can't recognize that someone's your brother?" Flowers asked the crowd, met with more booing. "He's not your brother? We all separate on the borders of our countries? So I'm not your brother? Am I not your brother being from America? Am I your brother or no? I'm not your brother?"

The frontman continued, "One of the things we appreciate about being in this band is it brings people together. And tonight, I want to celebrate that we're here together. And I don't want it to turn ugly. And I see you as my brothers and my sisters." Many people reportedly left the show in protest, and the band proceeded to finish their set without saying goodbye.

Now, the Killers have issued an apology for what transpired. "Good people of Georgia, it was never our intention to offend anyone!" they wrote in a Notes App statement posted to social media. "We have a longstanding tradition of inviting people to play drums and it seemed from the stage that the initial response from the crowd indicated that they were okay with tonight's audience participation member coming onstage with us."

They continued, "We recognize that a comment, meant to suggest that all of the Killers' audience and fans are 'brothers and sisters' could be misconstrued. We did not mean to upset anyone and we apologize. We stand with you and hope to return soon."

See the band's statement below.

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