Eagles of Death Metal singer Jesse Hughes has apologized for suggesting some security guards at the Bataclan Theater in Paris knew in advance that Islamist terrorists intended to attack it last year. He called his own suggestions “absurd.”
Hughes apologized on his Facebook page for comments he made to Fox Business Channel last week, according to which six security guards at the Bataclan were not at work on the night of the attack, November 13, 2015, in which four terrorist gunmen from Islamic State (ISIS) massacred 90 fans during a performance.
Hughes told Fox on Wednesday he had heard that some guards did not come to work that night and "it seems rather obvious that they had a reason not to show up."
The owners of the Bataclan reacted swiftly and said he had made "grave and defamatory accusations." They noted that a judicial investigation of the attack was under way and said: "we wish to let justice proceed serenely."
"All the testimonies gathered to this day demonstrate the professionalism and courage of the security agents who were on the ground on November 13. Hundreds of people were saved thanks to (their) intervention," they added.
Hughes responded on Friday, saying: "I humbly beg forgiveness from the people of France, the staff and security of the Bataclan, my fans, my family, friends and anyone else hurt or offended by the absurd accusations I made in my Fox Business Channel interview."
He said his comments were "unfounded and baseless," and that he had been struggling with dealing with the trauma of the massacre.
"I've been dealing with non-stop nightmares and struggling through therapy to make sense of this tragedy and insanity," he said. "I haven't been myself since November 13. I realize there's no excuse for my words, but for what it's worth: I am sincerely sorry for having hurt, disrespected or accused anyone."
The Californian rock band escaped the massacre by hiding in a dressing room backstage. They returned to the Bataclan three months later to finish the performance. The survivors of the massacre were all invited and many of them attended, amid tight security.
A total of 130 people were murdered in a series of six attacks in Paris on November 13.
Bataclan Theater was also targeted back in 2004 when the Israeli hip-hop duo of Subliminal and Hatzel performed there, despite threats by Islamists that nearly closed the performance. In a 2006 repeat, the venue gave in to the pressure and canceled the show in advance, forcing the Zionist rap stars to perform elsewhere.
For decades, the Bataclan was owned by a Jewish man, Joel Laloux, but he sold it to French conglomerate Lagardere in September of 2015. After the attack, Laloux angrily dismissed suggestions that the venue was targeted because of his family's Jewish roots or due to the fact that it has hosted events in support of the IDF and Jewish charities.