Because the Delta variant is quickly becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19 globally (via MarketWatch), threatening to derail progress made against the virus, governments around the world are being cautious and trying to go on the offensive, even as they move back to business as usual.
In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling for vaccine passports to be a requirement before people can enter nightclubs and other crowded venues where social distancing is impossible. But that move is not sitting well with singer and guitarist Eric Clapton, and he decided to do something about it.
In a statement shared via communication app Telegram, Clapton said: “Following the PM’s announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021, I feel honor-bound to make an announcement of my own. I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present. Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.” The message was sent along with a clip of Van Morrison’s song “Stand and Deliver,” which is meant to be an anti-COVID lockdown song (via Rolling Stone).
Twitter called out Eric Clapton for his decision
The announcement triggered social media users, many of whom took the opportunity to speak out against Clapton and his decision. “People thought Eric Clapton’s ‘Farewell’ tour would be about him going away, but it turns out it’s about his audience going away — for good,” wrote one.
“Considering what this guy has put in his body over the years it’s surprising he draws the line at a vaccine,” pointed out another, referencing Clapton’s former drug use (via NPR).
Even fans of Eric Clapton didn’t feel the need to defend the indefensible: “I am a longtime fan of Eric Clapton — I’ve been in love with him for decades, but this is bad messaging,” one Twitter user said. “The health and safety of the greater public MUST outweigh caving to those who refuse the shot. This IS a matter of life and death. You’re either for life, or you’re not.”
Another fan advised the singer to stay in his lane, writing: “You’re a good guitarist, Eric, but leave epidemiology to those who are qualified. Don’t confuse fame with actual ability.”
But there were also those who defended Clapton’s boycott, like this social media user who commented: “Love this. Most sane people would agree that medical segregation has absolutely no place in America. People who are still afraid of a virus with a 99.9% survival rate can stay home.”
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