For the first time in their band’s 21-year history, Matchbox Twenty managed to offend people. Australian fans were outraged after lead singer Rob Thomas unknowingly made a racist joke about native Australians.
“When you get on the plane on the way here, you start drinking,” Thomas said. “And then I drink until I think I’m Australian. And then I keep drinking until I think I’m a black Australian.”
The joke didn’t go over well in a country that, much like the United States, has a long history of nasty stereotypes related to native populations and alcoholism. In this case, the term black Australian down under generally refers to Aboriginal tribes, which Thomas didn’t know. The Melbourne crowd quickly turned on him, raining down boos on the singer.
Thomas posted an apology the same night, saying that he was unaware of the meaning of his words and the history of racial tensions in Australia.
Following the continued lambasting of Thomas on social media, he apologized a second time and added that he was just referencing things that he was not.
“I said I drank until I thought I was Australian. Then I drank so much that I thought I was a black Australian and then I drank so much I thought I was a little Australian girl. These were 3 things I chose at random to represent 3 things I’m not. I’m not Australian. I’m not black and I’m not a little girl. Again, if I had any idea of the stereotype I would have chosen another example. There was absolutely no malice even in jest.”
We have to note that this never would have happened if Thomas just followed Sinbad’s advice from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: “Sing a song. Shut up.”
(Via Entertainment Tonight)