Hayley Williams Has Regret Over The ‘Shame Or Embarrassment’ She Caused Fans By Kicking Them Out Of A Paramore Concert

During a recent Paramore concert at Madison Square Garden, Hayley Williams kicked some seemingly rowdy fans out of the show, declaring, “Holy sh*t. F*ck you! What is happening? Guys, yes, I will embarrass both of you. Both of you need to find somewhere else to take care of that sh*t because that’s not happening here.”

Since that moment, though, Williams has taken some time to reflect and now she has some regret over how she handled the situation.

In a lengthy message posted on the Paramore Discord (as shared on Reddit), she noted in part, “I embarrassed the hell out of these two people, without truly knowing what the situation was. Then, as a group – all 25,000 of us or so – exiled these people from the show in record time. It was a moment that I would not fully process for a couple of days, when a friend showed me a video from the inside of the crowd, up close to the action. What I saw on my friend’s phone screen didn’t look like the fight I thought I was stopping. It didn’t look particularly kind either. But I have not been able to shake the feeling that I abused my responsibility and my platform in that moment… that I hurt those two in a way that will outlast the momentary discomfort of their poor concert etiquette.”

She later continued, “So, if you are those two people… I am sorry for whatever shame or embarrassment I may have caused you. I’m not telling you that it’s perfectly fine to act entitled or ignorant at a show. I also grew up going to hardcore shows and was a scene kid who crawled and squirmed my way to the front to see bands I loved. But these days the value of being at any show with anyone is just a different thing than it used to be. We are all trying to escape the brute force of staying alive and well in the modern world. I’m really not even saying I think there is a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way here. I’m just saying that I’m sorry that I handled the whole situation like the arbiter of the same type of cancel culture that doesn’t often teach or lead in any productive way.”

Read the full post below.

“We made a lot of good memories this week in New York. Two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, time with close friends and family from all over, a launch party for Good Dye Young in Ulta stores across the country… there is a lot to feel grateful for.

Yet my mind continues to trail back to a particular moment from the first night at MSG that I am really not proud of. I’ll get to that in a second.

Like plenty of elementary school kids, the biggest motivating factor in my social life was belonging. I often felt like an outcast, even when there were friends around. I didn’t belong to a specific group of friends and sort of found my social standing by not having any one group to settle into. I got along with the the other teachers’ kids, the nerdy kids, the ‘bad’ kids, the little sporty soccer players… I went to a gymnastics class with the pretty, popular girls… I most often sat with a couple black girlfriends at the lunch table and we’d laugh and laugh not realizing that the town we lived in didn’t want our cultures to overlap. I knew I could hang around with just about anyone and get along fine but I didn’t ever feel like anyone really knew me.

So that – coupled with the all too common reality of having divorced and super young parents – kind of seeded this idea that I was always searching for a real sense of belonging. And a shared purpose.

It makes a lot of sense now why I found my way into a type of music that was all about community. ‘The Scene’, we called it when I was younger. Joining a band was the best thing to ever happened to little me. I suppose the same is true for current me.

Our shows are, in a way, a manifestation of my young longing. The childlike hope that if we can just band together for any amount of time, shelter ourselves with strength in numbers, that we can override the horrors of life. A Never Never Land sort of thing.

At present, the world we are navigating is fearsome and polarizing. Music is not often the escape that it once was. Riding the line between using a platform responsibly and fostering the opportunity for respite takes what feels like an unattainable wisdom. There’s also the sense that it’s my job to protect the familial spaces we are co-creating with audiences around the world. It feels like my duty to help people feel a sense of safety and belonging enough to let go and be completely present at a Paramore show.

On Night 1, while we were midway through a song called ‘Figure 8’ , a number of people in the GA floor caught our attention, asking us to stop for what appeared to be a fight. A small sea of raised hands all pointing inward and down toward 2 people. What I could see from the stage looked like a bigger guy and a smaller girl, standing there in the middle of the action. My insides were triggered from numerous personal experiences not fit for a blog post or a microphone on stage at an arena. My outsides were trying to maintain control of a situation I felt that myself and my bandmates were responsible for. Without the opportunity for a proper back and forth (and with a looming, strict show-curfew in the back of my mind), I bared my teeth like a mother wolf.

I embarrassed the hell out of these two people, without truly knowing what the situation was. Then, as a group – all 25,000 of us or so – exiled these people from the show in record time. It was a moment that I would not fully process for a couple of days, when a friend showed me a video from the inside of the crowd, up close to the action. What I saw on my friend’s phone screen didn’t look like the fight I thought I was stopping. It didn’t look particularly kind either. But I have not been able to shake the feeling that I abused my responsibility and my platform in that moment… that I hurt those two in a way that will outlast the momentary discomfort of their poor concert etiquette.

Maybe I’m completely off. I saw some folks in the comment section cheering me on and expressing their appreciation for my reaction. Yes, I do think it’s a worthy cause to set firm boundaries for how we want the environment at our shows to feel.

I don’t feel proud though. I feel the same tension in this moment that I wrote about all over the new album. Maybe everyone is a bad guy… When given the opportunity, we’ll all throw our weight around, blissfully unaware of how it’s affecting anyone around us. I love to say we make a safe space at our shows each night… but I’m also the one who may throw someone out without really even knowing what exactly is going on.

Sure, maybe those two weren’t gonna get it any other way. But we should all try to imagine getting ridiculed and kicked out of a show in front of 10’s of thousands of people. When I saw their faces in the video, I didn’t see the smug smiles that some commenters criticized them for.

I saw embarrassment and I cried for them. I’m telling you, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

So, if you are those two people… I am sorry for whatever shame or embarrassment I may have caused you. I’m not telling you that it’s perfectly fine to act entitled or ignorant at a show. I also grew up going to hardcore shows and was a scene kid who crawled and squirmed my way to the front to see bands I loved. But these days the value of being at any show with anyone is just a different thing than it used to be. We are all trying to escape the brute force of staying alive and well in the modern world. I’m really not even saying I think there is a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way here. I’m just saying that I’m sorry that I handled the whole situation like the arbiter of the same type of cancel culture that doesn’t often teach or lead in any productive way.

I hate that there isn’t always a simple answer to even the world’s silliest problems. A ‘good’ or ‘bad’ bin to use for clean up.

I hate that the only thing I really know to say to people I deem racist or bigoted in any way is ‘you’re dead to me’ when I know that message isn’t the kind that’s going to change a hateful heart. How can I feel soft and tragic about it in one moment and ragey and rigid the next? Because that’s human.

The ‘both/and’ of all things is my own life’s boss-level adversary.

Does anyone really learn from the kind of public shaming I gave the 2 I had kicked out from the show that night? I don’t know but I don’t think so. And that really gives me a lot to think about in terms of our culture at large.

If you’re coming to a show on this tour I am practically on my knees typing, begging you to be open to the idea that every person at your show needs it as much as you do. Everyone’s story has lead them, for one reason or another, to a Paramore song that brought them to the same show that you’re attending. Everyone’s life is so complex and there is an infinite backstory to why they care about this music. It is not lost on us as a band, when we show up to your city and perform not only for you but alongside you. We ALL need the release and the joy and the sweat and the connection.

So do your best to give people their own moment and still be present in yours.

I know there is adrenaline and I know some of us started going to shows when pushing and shoving was not considered threatening. For a Paramore show in 2023 (read: NOT a hardcore show or even a post-hardcore show in 2005), pushing and shoving is unnecessary. When someone falls, it should be from dancing and losing their footing — and someone should pick them up. I don’t want us to have to stop a show for physical aggression ever again.

Rest assured, I will still have a person removed if necessary. I’ll just try with all my heart not to make it seem like some biblical era public execution next time.

Thanks for reading.

H.”

Paramore is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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