Prominent Pittsburgh promoter Brian Drusky issued an apology on his personal Facebook page Monday for posts over the weekend that were perceived as making light of recent protests over the deaths, at the hands of police, of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY.
On Friday Mr. Drusky, of the regional Drusky Enterprises, wrote a series of posts that included “The Steelers lost last week. I’m going to lay down in the middle of grant street by the courthouse to protest!” and another about getting the wrong order at McDonald’s.
Initially, the posts were greeted with laughter and “likes,” until it was pointed out to him by Justin Strong (AVA/Shadow Lounge owner), comedian Davon Magwood and others that the jokes were racially insensitive.
In his apology, Mr. Drusky wrote, “My remarks were an attempt to be funny. However, they were not funny to a lot of people because I made light of something that I didn’t understand fully.”
On Tuesday there were more than 400 comments reacting to the apology and debating the issues. The comments have since been removed.
Mr. Drusky, who has a history of hosting charitable events for a variety of causes, including a 2009 benefit concert for the Fallen Hero Fund and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1, has decided after talking to Mr. Strong to hold an event to address the racial issues.
He wrote, “...We are going to try to plan on doing a community sit-in at Altar [Bar] in the next couple weeks with members of law enforcement as well as leaders in the community heading up the protests."
Nonetheless, political punk band Anti-Flag has pulled out of a Drusky-promoted concert at Altar Bar on Feb. 6.
Anti-Flag posted a statement on its official web site that included, "Confronting bigotry and blind allegiance to power with education is something Anti-Flag believe in. We hope that Brian Drusky will have that education process happen in his future. While we believe in people’s ability to change and become educated, there must be consequences for the things that he said."
Frontman Justin Sane says some people have criticized the move on social media saying that the promoter has a right to free speech.
"Anti-Flag defends everyone's right to freedom of speech and expression - including Brian Drusky. Anti-Flag has never said Mr. Drusky doesn't have the right to express himself. What we have said is we find his statements offensive therefore, until we see some evidence that he has grown and taken some action to prove that he has changed, we don't want to work with him."
The show is in the process of being moved to Mr. Smalls in Millvale.